Pope Francis Tells Mothers to ‘Go Ahead and Breastfeed’ Children in Church

Women --some of them breastfeeding-- carry out a 'mamaton' (from Spanish 'amamantar' ,breastfeed and 'marathon') outside the Legislative Assembly in San Jose on August 3, 2016 protesting against the recent dismissal of a secretary who was breastfeeding by a deputy of the Partido Accion Ciudadana (PAC) . / AFP / …
EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty

In a Sunday ceremony, Pope Francis urged women to feel free to breastfeed their children in the church, “just as the Virgin Mary nursed Jesus.”

At the Mass commemorating the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Pope Francis baptized 28 children in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, some of whom cried loudly during the ceremony.

“The concert has begun!” the Pope said, noting that surely some of the children were crying because they were in an unfamiliar place or because they had woken up earlier than usual or even just because the others were crying.

“Then again,” the Pope continued, “since the ceremony is a little long, some of them cry because they are hungry.”

“If this is the case, you mothers go ahead and breastfeed them, peacefully and without fear,” he said, “just as Mary nursed Jesus.”

Pope Francis is a vocal advocate of breastfeeding in church and Sunday’s invitation to mothers was just the latest in a series of similar statements.

Last year for the same feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Francis concluded his homily by reiterating his encouragement to breastfeed children in church. “When a baby cries because he’s hungry, feed his. Feel free to feed them here,” he said.

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