It’s been a great week for parents who are figuring out the best way to discipline their kids. The day after a suburban Atlanta barber went viral with his embarrassing haircut method of discipline, the ever controversial Pope Francis has said that he thinks parents have the right to “smack” their child for bad behavior.
The Pope recalled a conversation he had had with a father, who told him that on occasion he hits his children if they have been naughty.
The Pope, smiling and miming the action of slapping a child on the bottom, said: “One time, I heard a father say, ‘At times I have to hit my children a bit, but never in the face so as not to humiliate them.’
“That’s great. He had a sense of dignity. He should punish, do the right thing, and then move on,” he told around 7,000 people gathered in the Pope Paul VI Hall on Wednesday.
Naturally, the anti-spankers jumped out in full force to condemn the pontiff.
“It is disappointing that anyone with that sort of influence would make such a comment,” said Peter Newell, the coordinator of the Global Alliance to End Corporal Punishment of Children.
Peter Saunders, the founder of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, told The Telegraph: “I think that is a very misguided thing to have said and I’m surprised he said it, although he does come up with some howlers sometimes.”
Others came to Pope Francis’ defense.
But the remarks were defended by Father Antonio Mazzi, a priest well-known in Italy for his television appearances.
“This Pope is always astounding us because he uses the same language we use. Naturally there will be psychologists who protest, but they make me laugh,” he said.
The pope has a history of controversial statements. Most recently, he remarked that that he would punch anyone who insulted his mother.
In other news related to Pope Francis, House Speaker John Boehner announced that the Pope will address Congress in September, making him the first pontiff to address a joint session of Congress.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / giulio napolitano