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:
A shocking incident in a French church as a frustrated priest slaps baby who won't stop crying during baptism ceremony.pic.twitter.com/z8LUfslwVH
Universal Life Church (@ulcmonastery) June 21, 2018
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.
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.