A baptism ceremony took a dark turn when a Catholic priest appeared to lose his temper with a crying baby. The priest, holding the baby as its parents look on, attempts to perform the rites of baptism. When the child won’t stop crying, the frustrated priest hits the child across the face hard enough for the sound to be heard on video:

The baby’s horrified parents shake off their initial shock and quickly step in to pull their child away from the aggressive clergyman. The video cuts out before showing what happens next.

What Made Him Snap? 

It’s still unclear why the priest chose to strike the baby. The ceremony appears to be going well at first, as the priest prepares to wash the baby’s forehead with water from a baptismal font. However, something then upsets the child, who begins to cry loudly. The priest says in French: “Calm down, calm down, you must calm down,” but the baby won’t stop.

Now visibly angry, the priest then proceeds to forcefully hold the baby’s face in his hands, look it directly in the eyes, and issue a hard slap on the cheek.

The unexpectedly violent act prompts an immediate reaction as the baby cries out even louder than before. A woman comes over to try to calm the clergyman by holding him back. The priest then repeats: “There, you have to calm yourself, you have to calm yourself, there, there.” Meanwhile, a man – likely the child’s father – forcefully steps in and takes the baby out of the priest’s grasp. The clergyman does release the child, though reluctantly. He doesn’t appear to express any regret for his actions.

Clergy Violence

Some saw the shocking incident as part of a pattern of violence: further evidence that members of the clergy – particularly in the Catholic faith – cannot be trusted around children.

It certainly seems strange that a trained priest, someone who ought to embody virtuous traits such as patience, empathy, and compassion, was so quick to lash out against an innocent child. Surely that type of behavior cannot be tolerated by any member of society, but it’s especially disturbing coming from an individual trusted to uphold religious values and promote positive community development.

 

72 comments

  1. Dorothy Rutherford-Steiss says:

    It cannot be unusual for a child to cry during a baptism; unfamiliar people, unfamiliar place, etc. No matter the person’s age, telling someone to calm down does not work. He was handling and moving that child roughly to begin with. Then to slap the child. Hard. Then resist as the obviously upset man tries to take the child . . . . This priest needs to retire as far away from, especially children, priestly duties as soon as possible. More accountability, more education are needed no matter what country or religion.

    1. Laurie Nevells says:

      I agree totally

      1. Tom says:

        I also agree..further, the parents could charge the priest with a criminal assault…it appears to me that the religions, which are not necessary in the first place, do not understand what is happening in the world, so from the top down there can be no meaningful direction to the priests and adherents…Peace…Tom

        1. Cathi Amedee says:

          This man should be arrested immediately!

          1. Kurt Fagan says:

            That wouldn’t accomplish much.

          2. Jason D Bender says:

            Priests of the Catholic variety have a long history of taking their “frustrations” out on children – if ya’ know what i mean… nudge nudge … snicker snicker …

    2. Pastor M says:

      I think Bob F has a dangerous attitude about physical discipline, especially toward babies. I think this priest should be removed from any position except paper pushing. In seminary, perhaps a few courses in child development would help prevent this type of treatment by priests.

      Thank goodness the slap was not a blow to the temple, though it remains my concern that other damage may have occurred to the infant’s brain; damage that is yet to be discovered. The parents should pursue criminal charges, but my guess is that they have been taught to regard priests as people above reproach…sadly.

      1. Jason D Bender says:

        You should never hit a crying baby!! Shaking is the proper response to annoying crying!

        1. Tom says:

          Jason…respectfully, can you consider that while the crying may be annoying to you, it evidences upset feelings of the child that you do not understand?…when you are upset, would you feel better if someone shakes you, or would you prefer understanding?…Peace…Tom

          1. Jason D Bender says:

            Twas but a joke…. Shaking babies is lethal.

        2. Tom says:

          Jason…thanks for clarifying…Peace…Tom

    3. JOKR says:

      “Warning to the Wicked”
      How terrible it will be for the wicked!
      Disaster is headed their way,
      because what they did with their hand will be repaid to them.

    4. MathPhile says:

      I would have decked this God Damned Priest !

  2. Guairdean says:

    The Catholic priesthood was infiltrated by those unfit for their duties long ago. Those proven unfit have not been removed from the priesthood, they’ve simply been shuffled to different duties. In this case, someone with no patience was place in a situation where a great deal of patience is required. Sadly, there will be few, if any, consequences for the priest. He’ll simply be sent to a new parish. Hopefully, the child is alright. The priests condition is irrelevant.

  3. Carl Elfstrom says:

    It’s very surprising and hard to believe. I’ve never heard of a clergyman doing that before. Maybe it was a girl. I’ve heard that Catholic priests like boys a lot better. Most Catholic seminaries last between ten and twelve years so lack of training couldn’t be the problem. Every once in a while I hear of someone snapping for no apparent reason and going nuts. Whatever the reason this man needs to be removed from the clergy, given a psychiatric evaluation, and maybe even have criminal charges filed against him. Nobody is above the law.

    1. Jim D says:

      Never mind removing him from the clergy. He needs to be removed from planet Earth. Smacking a baby? I have zero tolerance for that.

  4. Rev. Robert Barker says:

    I did a lot of baptisms of infants in my 30 year career and some cried but slapping was never an option. I always had a parent or godparent hold the child. I never held the child. I could always speak louder than the crying baby.

  5. Tom says:

    The priest committed an assault, and is subject to being arrested and charged…his ego clearly was out of control; he needs spiritual therapy, in order to interact with babies ever again…Tom

    1. John Smithkey says:

      Yes, I agree. This is a case of assault. The priest should be arrested and held accountable for his horrible behavior. John Smithkey III RN BSN

  6. Tom says:

    what happened to my comment?

  7. bob fluetsch says:

    Baptism should be a somber, holy rite. Not with a crying brat! The priest was correct to try to establish a proper atmosphere. Romans 10:21 sets a precedent for the priest to attempt to correct the unruly situation. A quiet life, working with hands is expected of a priest in I Thessalonians 3:11. And, in I Timothy 2:8 instruction is given in praying, lifting one’s hands. There is no PROOF the priest was angry, only speculation. He was in his rights to use his hand to try to quiet the disruptive kid. . . . . . . something the parents should have done!

    1. Guairdean says:

      You should not be allowed around children unsupervised.

    2. Alicia Szot says:

      WOW!!! Did you not see that video??? The priest slapped a child who looked to be not even a year old, then held the child so tightly, it was difficult for the dad to take him or her. For you to call a child that age a “brat” for crying in an unfamiliar place with an unfamiliar man touching him is beyond ridiculous! Then you have the nerve to quote the Bible to condone his actions? Well…considering that the Bible is a violent book, I guess that’s why you think violence on the part of the priest is OK.

      The priest was pissed! He treated that child very poorly and the parents deserve to be compensated for this.

      1. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp MSW, LCSW says:

        Good for you Alicia, bob F is a dangerous individual. The priest needs to be charged with child abuse and sentenced to jail and then be required to attend 18 months of anger management group treatment. I’m surprised one of the parents didn’t smack him silly.

    3. DaveJ says:

      I’m guessing you are a troll?

    4. George says:

      Have you found that slapping an infant actually stopped it from crying? A child of such a young age has little knowledge of life except to make itself heard when upset.

      How dare you to insinuate that the priest had every right to slap the child. Further you also claimed the parents should have slapped the child before the priest did.

      if you hit the the crying child and it continues to cry do you hit it again and perhaps harder. Here’s an idea next time just have the priest hold the child’s head under water until it stops crying.

      You sound like a priest. Where do you administer.

      1. Laurie Nevells says:

        It’s called child abuse. Priests are Not above the law.

    5. Wilie34 says:

      It looks like you are cut from the same cloth as the priest! A kid is an offspring of a goat. This was a baby. But as an uneducated/ignorant person which you seem to be you would not know the difference! The baby most likely is around 1 month to be baptised. If you are married or have children you would be a child abuser and end up in jail.🙏

    6. Laurie Nevells says:

      A crying baby should Never be Hit. Regardless of who it is.

    7. Laurie Nevells says:

      You truly are Not a person of God. Patients, compassion, and understanding. This man committed Child Abuse and should be charged accordingly.

    8. Tom says:

      Bob…respectfully, i do not believe you believe what you are saying…i base this feeling on (1) you quote religious dogma, instead of your own feelings; and (2) you did not bring yourself to state that the priest slapped the infant; you softened what you were saying by stating “use his hand”…please think about this…Peace…Tom

      1. George says:

        He sounds like Comey changing the language to protect Hillary. Bob are you into politics.

        Just thinking out loud.

    9. Ann Wood says:

      You are obviously not a real person. Troll on

    10. CTF says:

      You yourself need therapy. Hiding behind archaic biblical text as a foundation for abuse is the problem.

      When you know better – you do better.

      Justifying a priest slapping a child is beyond any religious teachings.

      Get help before you also justify a murder, or rape.

    11. Jim D says:

      In case you haven’t figured it out yet, bob, you are not a very popular person here. Your views are so neanderthal-like, I hardly believe it’s possible that you exist in the 21st century. If you truly feel this way, seek help. Seek help now, before you do something really stupid. If you’re just a troll looking to provoke a response, congratulations. You’ve succeeded in becoming the most despised person in this forum.

    12. Fiona Stone says:

      Enough! I am all for not sparing the rod, but a baby is a baby. I have been to only a few baptisms where the child did not cry. Its par for the course. Clearly the priest is too old now for the job, probably has dementia and is losing it all round. Without trying to judge him too much, his actions were clearly wrong, but, could be the result of old age and accompanying mental illness. Take him off the front lines, please.

  8. James says:

    I call it. B. s .

  9. Gary says:

    I really don’t think this has anything to so with Catholicism. This could have happened in any religious ritual. Why this priest slapped this innocent child is beyond my ability to comprehend. Maybe he should do his next baptism in Florida and be lunch for a hungry crocodile! God works in mysterious ways!

    1. George says:

      But it didn’t happen in any other religious service; it happened in a Catholic Church. I agree with your premise that it could have occurred in any church. Unfortunatly, the Catholic Church appears to constantly have abuse problems in a much higher ratio than any other religious orginization.

      1. Gary says:

        You’re right, George. Other than the scammers like the guy who wanted his followers to buy him a new jet and pedophile priests in the Catholic church, you really don’t hear about this in any other religions. Thank goodness we have our system of beliefs to follow. I appreciate the latitude ULC gives its ministers and your comments. Gary.

        1. George says:

          Gary neither one of us is professing to call the “scammers” a religon. I’m talking about orginized religon in the highest degree; not some fly (pun intended) by night orginization if you even dare to call it that.

          All I said was “I agree with your premise. ” In other words I agreed with you. Unfortunatly, as I stated earlier, the Catholic Church is –just better known for its indiscretions.

          A thousand humble apologies for causing you to become upset as it wasn’t my attention it’s just I hate Orginized Religion. I’m a very religious person that belongs to a small church. All the large for profit churches and perhaps even some of the smalller ones are basically corrupt either legally or spiritually.

          And it irritates me when someone sticks up for the priest and the orginization that fostered him. I mean, just guide the blame away from the Catholic church by diluting the barbaric act with “This could have happened in religious ritual.”

          No thought of the child , the parents, or anyone else involved just is the Catholic religon OK, it didn’t get hurt did it? It’s the babies fault you know, it should’ve known not to cry in church. And those afull parent that didn’t teach the baby to listen when the priest says Shhhhh.

          Is that where your beliefs really are? Oh, your right when you stated “you really don’t hear about this in any other religions.” You’re right again because it seldom does compared to the catholic church. Why do you think the Catholics have so many problems? Just wondering.

          Perhaps they don’t vet them well enough. Besides this is a spiritualist church not a Catholic one which cofuses me even more why a spiritualist would worry about whether a priest looked bad or not. I came to the conclusion you were just slumming.

          Have a great life and God Bless. No. Really I do mean it.

          God bless and good night Gary.

          1. Gary says:

            Hi George, Thanks for your response. Took me a while to read it! I really don’t think this has anything to do with any particular religion. It has to do with an individual using poor judgment. Vows of chastity, an aged priest having no children of his own and an inappropriate response to a child doing what children will do all contributed to a bad outcome.I kind of assumed this was a Catholic event. Perhaps other religions sweep this and other “unsavory” activities under the carpet. Who Knows? I was raised a Catholic and while studying with other kids in a class run by nuns, I sometimes got a ruler to my hand for acting up…..just natural at my age. Confession was traumatic! Ha! Ha! My mother was Lutheran. In those days, if you were a child in a “split” household the Catholic church forced the parents to raise the child as a Catholic So on to catechism class I went. It was confusing for me to see my father and I going to one church while mom went to another.I was drawn to the ULC church because it gives me latitude in forming and revising my beliefs as I see fit based on my own spiritual studies. On a lighter note, I will be using my ordination next month to marry my oldest daughter. Thanks again for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your response. Life is good. God bless you as well my friend.

  10. Barry says:

    Catholicism is one of the most know and also largest religions.
    It’s also the easiest one to do something wrong in and be forgiven.
    Kinda gives you a feeling of unstoppable power.

  11. Yve says:

    It’s illegal to slap children in UK. No one should hit another person. Adult or child.

    1. Jason D Bender says:

      Yve said “:No one should hit another person. Adult or child.”
      BULL! There are many many circumstance where a nice lil’ punch in the kisser is precisely what is needed! Mouthy kids and wives come to mind here as does self defense!

      1. Tom says:

        Jason…respectfully, physical violence is an ego reaction, and only creates pain and fear…Peace…Tom

  12. Rev Wayne Stevens says:

    And that’s the case let’s go back to basics so to speak Blackwood Christ or Jesus would do with a crying child I don’t think he would slap them I would think try to comfort tell me I’m I wrong I don’t think so

  13. John Smithkey says:

    This priest committed assault and battery. He should be placed under arrest and held fully accountable for his terrible actions! John Smithkey III RN BSN

  14. John A Anderson, CD says:

    Unfortunately, under FRENCH law, where this happened, the fact that he is RC clergy will mean it will be up to the RC Church to punish him. From their record with pedophiles, it isn’t likely to be any more severe than shifting him to another parish, or promoting him away from dealing with children. As for the assault and battery idea, that is a distinctly US idea. In Canada, it would be assault, plain and simple, and if it happened in Quebec, it would again be the responsibility of the Church, as, while they follow Canadian law in most respects, the RC Church has special privileges, same as in France, when it comes to RC clergy. I do agree that the priest should be punished for striking the child, but it is HIGHLY unlikely.

  15. Carol A siebert says:

    Sad this has happened it probably ruined the whole day for them all. This priest should not be doing any other Baptisms, very wrong to hit the baby.

  16. James says:

    Child abuse? Not quite there in MHO. The slap appeared to be a low impact swing. But, to a child of that age, it could be equated equate to a full swing. There are some quotes in biblical readings that might cover this as acceptable if spun far enough. All in all, the slap was uncalled for, over the top and NOT part of a baptismal I’d perform. On a side note. The child was NOT properly prepared, relaxed & in a tranquil state to proceed. The entire procedure should have been postponed in lue of laying on of hands in this manner. Other indicators in that short vid do hint that the minister DOES need to retire.

  17. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp, MSW, LCSW says:

    Not child abuse to hit a baby??? Seriously???? You are absolutely wrong. “Low impact swing”???? What is that???? Let me tell you if that was my baby, the priest would have been licking the floor in pain as I would have sucker punched the SOB for abusing my child. Denial, justification or minimization is not ok when it comes to child abuse. You are saying the baby wasn’t “tranquil and not properly prepared”??? The SOB priest is not fit to come near children, let alone baptize babies.

    1. Duckin Acup says:

      Amen! The only thing a child learns from being hit is that it’s OK to hit children.

      1. Fiona Stone says:

        Really ? You’d be surprised at how quickly they learn to do their chores, homework and their timetables. A slap does a world of good, when properly and fitly administered. Saves a lot of BS talk “I love you unconditionally and you can tell Mommy anything, no matter what you do I will love you so please clean your room” because you KNOW its not true. There is always a quid pro quo.

  18. John Owens says:

    I don’t believe in baptizing babies anyway, but the daddy AND the mother should have both slapped that geezer.

  19. Gary says:

    Hey John, I was raised in a home where my mom and dad practiced different religions. Back in the day (I’m talking 1940-1950’s) the catholic church made it “mandatory” for a child to be raised a catholic. I went to church with my dad every Sunday and always wondered why mom and dad went to different churches. Confusing a a kid. I practiced Catholicism until I left the military. After a few years I gave up both in favor of meditation and practicing Buddhism at a really fine, non judgmental monastery. I still favor Buddhism and meditation and have read a magazine called Tricycle, the Buddhist review for over 15 years. They don’t try to convert you but they do have some interesting articles about subjects like mindfulness.Lately I discovered a book called “The Upanishads” which really opened my eyes as to who we are, why we were born and what is the purpose of our life. Especially important is their take on being mindful and not walking through our life passively. Their discussion of the Self as opposed to the christian soul is extremely enlightening.

    1. Tom says:

      Gary…you are certainly going in the right direction…any judgments about people are solely through ego, which only makes our journey harder…Peace…Tom

  20. Rev Wayne Stevens says:

    Yes yes yes finally someone with some sense baptism should take place later in life people are participants actually know what is going on

  21. Duckin Acup says:

    My kid? Eye for an eye, blow for blow. Priest would have been in hospital or worse. And, no, I’m not afraid of jail – been there/done that.

  22. Jim D says:

    If that was my child, and the priest did that, I’d be sitting in a French jail right now for grabbing that alte kaker by the throat. (No, I’m not Jewish. I just like the term “alte kaker.”) I’m normally a patient, mild-mannered person, but when it comes to my child, I will lose my s#!t and go all John Rambo on your ass. I would have liked to see what happened in that church after the video stopped.

  23. Hopeful Thinker says:

    Who believes that violence really can be used for good?… those who kill in the name of god and who would kill those who pursue peace and love. This is my opinion.

    1. Tom says:

      Hopeful Thinker…this is an issue all by itself…elective violence is never good…as the Strawbs said in “The Hangman and the Papist”: “forgive me God we hang him in thy name”…Peace…Tom

  24. Howard Crane says:

    Uhm…. this was in Ireland.

  25. Messenger says:

    Our steps are already ordered by God you don’t need another human to get you to heaven I’m upset about this old ass man slapping this baby it couldn’t have been me and my family head line would have read different “ Priest get knocked the fuck out “ by moma are shall I say granny after attempting to hit grandson! When people get old It’s time to retire please my fellow humans stop trusting everyone with your children we are suppose to care and protect I’m sure they trusted this old ass man but man pray forr Discernment Before you let a human touch your children read the Bible it will help you a lot..ok I’m waiting on Feed back

  26. Gwendolyn Lord says:

    On the bright side, at least the priest did not sodomize the child.

    1. Jason D Bender says:

      We do not know that… he might have…

  27. Norma Battes says:

    ” The priest then repeats: ‘There, you have to calm yourself, you have to calm yourself, there, there.’ ”

    Maybe he was saying a prayer to himself?

    1. Tom says:

      Norma…that is the most positive comment i have read about this…good for you…Peace…Tom

  28. James says:

    Catholics have always been disciplinarians (go to a catholic school).i watched the video and while the slap can be heard i don”t think the child wad hurt.

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