Pope Francis might end up being known as the rebel Pope because of the way he looks at things and what he says. Yet, what I feel he is doing is looking at the good things that have been happening since the dawn of time and sticking with those basic principles. Kindness. Acceptance. Love. Pope Francis is showing us that these principles apply all the time, not just certain times.
Recently, the pontiff was at the Sistine Chapel performing baptisms for 32 babies. Interesting to note that one of those babies was born to parents who were married in a civil union, outside of the church. Yet, he still accepted them and happily baptized the child. This was a first for the Vatican. This Pope gives me hope. It was during these baptisms that he shared his thoughts on breastfeeding, even when it comes to breastfeeding in church. And his stance on babies and children and their rights should teach a lesson and inspire us.
Before we get into exactly what Pope Francis said, let's flashback a year to a church in Savannah, Georgia, when mom Nirvana Jennette was told to stop breastfeeding in church because it was lewd. She was told to cover up and leave to feed her baby. Jennette was even compared to a stripper. In church.
Jennette knew she and her baby weren't second class citizens. They had rights. Baby had a right to eat. And that's exactly what Pope Francis feels. The Pope said:
Today the 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. If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice. Because they are the most important people here.
He has also said that children should not be treated as second-class faithful. This is just another step in the right direction to "normalizing" breastfeeding. Because we have to face the facts -- most people think it's obscene for a mother to breastfeed in public. Here is the Pope, leader of many people who feel breastfeeding is obscene, saying it's vital, it should be accepted, it is life.
Back in the day, there was no formula and mothers breastfed their children whenever and wherever they were hungry. This should apply today, too. Our society has become too warped that some people see a breast and automatically think of something sexual. This is just wrong. Breastfeed is natural -- it's the best food for baby. And all babies deserve the best. We all do. And that's where kindness, acceptance, and love come in. For all. Including babies. Including breastfeeding mothers.
Thank you, Pope. I hope this message spreads.
What do you think of the Pope encouraging mothers to breastfeed, even in church?
Image via Charles Hutchins/Flickr