Pope Francis got hit with both praise and criticism this past weekend for baptizing the child of parents considered "unmarried" by the Catholic Church and encouraging mothers to breastfeed in the Sistine Chapel.
Among the 32 babies baptized in the Sistine Chapel by Pope Francis on Sunday was 7-month-old Giulia Scardia, according to a Reuters report.
Giulia's parents were not married in a traditional church service but a
civil service in a town hall. That type of marriage is traditionally
not recognized by the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis, however,
departed from that practice and agreed to baptize the child because he
believes that the children of parents in an irregular situation
shouldn't be made to feel like second-class faithful.
to get married very quickly," Giulia's mother, Nicoletta, told the
Corriere della Sera newspaper. "We were in a hurry and there was no time
to organize a church ceremony. Maybe we will do it sometime."
While Pope Francis received overwhelming praise for his progressive decision, not everyone was happy about it.
the first time I disagree with the Pope. Unmarried parents have no
place baptizing their child because the church is about family and union
and bringing a life into the world without thinking about getting
married is plain wrong," wrote Jackie from London in the comments
section of a Mail Online report.
"Too many are kids being born into homes with weak foundations. It is a
fact that people are quicker to bail out when they aren't married. He
is sending out the wrong message. Bring on the red arrows," she noted in
the heavily disliked comment.
Another commenter, Wendy Lane argued that what Pope Francis did wasn't unprecedented.
was baptized when Pope John XXIII was pope and the Second Vatican
Council hadn't begun. My parents weren't married and my father was a
Protestant but there was no problem with my baptism or my sister's. We
were welcomed into the Catholic Church just like everyone else. The word
'Catholic' simply means 'Universal'. Anyone can become a Catholic. The
Pope isn't doing anything new so why the fuss?" asked Lane.
Francis also surprised some when he invited the mothers to breastfeed
their children if they were hungry during the ceremony.
choir will sing but the most beautiful choir of all is the choir of the
infants who will make a noise. Some will cry because they are not
comfortable or because they are hungry," he told the parents.
"If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice. Because they are the most important people here."