“Just like the Virgin Mary nursed Jesus,” Pope Francis tells mothers to breastfeed their children.
Breastfeeding in public has always been a subject of taboo in society. The Catholic Church too has not been very receptive to allowing mothers to feed their babies in church. However, Pope Francis once and for all destroyed the belief that breastfeeding in church is disrespectful by openly asking mothers to feed their babies when needed, even if during service.
The Pope made this bold statement during a service in the Sistine Chapel, where he was presiding over the baptism of 28 newborns. During the ceremony, the Pope admitted that the ceremony was a little long and assured the women there would be absolutely nothing wrong if they would feed their babies crying out of hunger. The Argentine Pope justified his statement by pointing out the Virgin Mary herself nursed baby Jesus. He insisted mothers should take her example and feed their babies during service to nurse their babies without the fear of being disrespectful.
Even in the past the Pope has been very vocal about his support for breast-feeding in church, and public as well. Last year, he asked women to remember the many poor women around the world who are unable to feed their hungry babies. The Pope believes the act of breast-feeding is natural and a God-given gift. As such, it would be wrong to deny feed to the babies when they are hungry.
Even earlier to that, in 2013 Pope Francis made huge news when he said he noticed a woman attending a general audience was too shy to feed a baby because she was in his presence. The Pontiff observed while the woman had food to give her child, a number of people around the world were still hungry. He not only appealed to women to feed their babies, but also to the faithful in general to give the hungry something to eat.
Although the Pope may have become very popular among feminists for his refusal to break Church tradition and accept women into the priesthood, this appeal of his to allow women to feed their babies in Church will definitely come as welcome news. This would be another of the many baby steps the Pope is taking towards expanding the role of women in Church. Last year, the Church saw female participants in the Holy Thursday Washing of The Feet ceremony for the first time in history.
— Natalie Schellack (@NSchellack) January 10, 2017
- The Guardian -Pope Francis encourages mothers to breastfeed in Sistine Chapel
- The Guardian -Pope Francis tells mothers at the Sistine Chapel to feel free to breastfeed
- The Washington Post
- The New York Times
- World Religion News