Pope Encourages Breastfeeding in Sistine Chapel
Because babies get hungry during baptisms, too...
I am all aboard the new Popemobile these days. The Popemobile itself, of course, now happens to be a modest Ford Focus, which Pope Francis has chosen over the limo his predecessors cruised around in. He’s a laid-back guy, this Pope, and he’s living according to what he understands as truly Christian values. Which is to say, humbly, and as an advocate for those whose voices aren’t always heard. He’s ruffled quite a few feathers since being appointed almost a year ago. In December, he offered a moral critique of capitalism that some people (less-progressive pundits, mostly) found rather alarming. And in addition to defending a more humanistic (and environmentally sound) social, political and economic world, the Pope is also—wait for it—breastfeeding friendly.
Make that public breastfeeding (another practice that’s been known to ruffle a few feathers) friendly. He said in an interview about a month ago that breastfeeding mothers should feel comfortable doing their thing during his ceremonies. And this past Sunday, he put his money where his mouth is during a baptism in the Sistine Chapel for 32 babies, including one whose parents weren’t married in a church—gasp! He said, of the babies present, “If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice. Because they are the most important people here.”
By making it clear that breastfeeding is about feeding babies (i.e. it’s not sexual) and is a natural and normal thing for mothers to do—even in the Sistine Chapel—he’s going a long way toward upending some of the hang-ups that surround breastfeeding, and particularly public breastfeeding, in our culture (a culture in which, in the United States, for example, women have been threatened with arrest for breastfeeding in church). Props to Pope Francis!
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