Last week, the world united in outrage when a French Catholic priest slapped a crying baby during a baptism. The video of Father Jacques Lacroix went viral online, prompting mass outrage and condemnation.
As a result, the priest was forced to retire from his position.
“I am finishing my ministry now…there is an end to everything,” the 89-year-old priest stated, as reported by the Daily Mail.
After the incident, Bishop Jean-Yves of Meaux announced that Fr. Lacroix was no longer able to preform baptisms or marriage ceremonies. He noted that if cleared, he would be able to celebrate mass.
In the viral video, a baby can be seen crying during the baptism ceremony. The infant was being held by his mother, who was trying to comfort him, bouncing him and gently shushing him.
When that didn’t work, the priest took it upon himself to try to stop the child from crying by telling him to “be quiet” and to “calm down.” Then, to the parents’ surprise, Lacroix slapped the baby across his face.
In the video you can hear bystanders saying “Don’t hit the kid,” and “Sir, we do not hit him,” yet the priest ignored them.
The mother told the priest to let go of her child, but he continued to hold onto the child by the head. The father intervened, grabbing the child and forcibly pulling him from the priest.
The incident took place last Sunday, in Champeaux, a section of southeastern Paris, at the Collegiate church.
The Daily Mail reported that Lacroix apologized to the family and they accepted his apology. Lacroix also added that he was not trying to hurt the child but merely calm him down.
“It was somewhere between a caress and a slap, I hoped to calm him down, I didn’t know what to do. The child was screaming a lot and I had to turn his head to pour water over it,” he told France Info radio.
“I told him to ‘calm down, calm down’ but he was not calming down. I tried to hold him close. I just wanted him to calm down. I apologised for my clumsiness to the family. I am finishing my ministry now, it was my last baptism, there is an end to everything,” he continued.
The Diocese of Meaux, which comprises the department within the Seine-et-Marne, released a statement saying that the priest’s behavior was because of fatigue, but that “that doesn’t excuse it,” according to the Telegraph.
(H/T: Daily Mail)