Crying Child in Church Is a 'Sublime Sermon,' Says Francis

In Bolivia, Warns Church Leaders Against Silencing and Scolding the Faithful

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Pope Francis today spoke of the crying of a child in church as a «sublime sermon,» echoing a message he’s given on other occasions.

The Holy Father mentioned crying children in his address today to religious and clergy of Bolivia. In a three-point reflection on the Gospel passage of Bartimaeus, Francis spoke of the disciples of Christ who tried to silence the beggar.

«Unlike the first response [of those who just passed by Bartimaeus], this one hears, acknowledges, and makes contact with the cry of another person. It recognizes that he or she is there, but reacts simply by scolding,» he said. 

Then departing from his text, he brought a laugh from the audience by speaking of the «bishops, the priests, the nuns, the pope with the finger like this (wagging).»

The «poor faithful people of God,» he said, are many times forced to deal with the «bad mood, or the personal situation, of a follower of Jesus.»

«It is the attitude of some leaders of God’s people; they continually scold others, hurl reproaches at them, tell them to be quiet.»

Pope Francis exhorted that instead, the faithful need a «caress. Please! Listen to him. Tell him that Jesus loves him.»

He lamented those who would say, «Ma’am, take this child out of the church, because she’s crying and I’m preaching! As if the cry of a baby was not a sublime preaching.»

Last December, on a visit to a Roman parish, Francis said something similar: «What I wanted to say is this: children cry, make noise, go from one side to the other … and I am so annoyed when a child cries in church and people want him to go outside. No! It is the best homily! The cry of a child is God’s voice. Truly, never, never chase them out of the church!»

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Kathleen Naab

United States

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