PARENTING
01/13/2014 10:36 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Pope Francis Urges Moms To Breastfeed In The Sistine Chapel During Annual Baptism Event

In this photo provided by the Vatican paper L' Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis blesses a baby during a baptism at the Vatica
In this photo provided by the Vatican paper L' Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis blesses a baby during a baptism at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014. With wails resounding amid the splendor of the Sistine Chapel, the Pontiff baptized 32 infants, and at one point in the ceremony telling mothers to feel free to feed their crying babies. Formally welcoming the children as members of the Catholic church, Francis poured water from a shell-shaped dish over the heads of the babies held in their mothers' arms. Francis pronounced the babies' names one by one, as beaming parents held their children, dressed in white satin or silk gowns and other finery, in the chapel whose ceiling was frescoed by Michelangelo. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

During an annual baptism event at the magnificent Sistine Chapel Sunday, Pope Francis appeared to encourage the mothers who were present to breastfeed their babies "without thinking twice."

Delivering an unusually brief and casual homily that centered on the 32 infants he was baptizing, the pope spoke affectionately of the children, as he urged their moms not to be intimated by their surroundings and to attend to their kids if the need arose.

"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," Francis said, according to Reuters. "If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice. Because they are the most important people here."

When asked about the state of hungry children in the world, Francis related this story about a mom and her newborn to the Italian newspaper:

At the Wednesday General Audience the other day there was a young mother behind one of the barriers with a baby that was just a few month s old. The child was crying its eyes out as I came past. The mother was caressing it. I said to her: madam, I think the child’s hungry. “Yes, it’s probably time…” she replied. “Please give it something to eat!” I said. She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing. I wish to say the same to humanity: give people something to eat!

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