Paris | The diocese of Meaux, in the Paris region, suspended Friday “of all baptism and marriage celebrations” a priest who slapped a baby during a baptism and aroused strong indignation on social networks.
A video posted Thursday and viewed several million times shows this 89-year-old priest, officiating at the Collegiate Church of Champeaux, preparing to baptize a baby who keeps crying.
After grabbing his face and asking for “calm,” he puts a slap under the look dumbfounded and indignant of his parents.
“This loss of coolness can be explained by the tiredness of this elderly priest, but that does not excuse him,” said the diocese in a statement, stating that the priest “aware of this gesture moved apologized to the family at the end of the baptism.
Bishop Nahmias, Bishop of Meaux, has taken “conservatory measures so that the priest is suspended from all baptism and marriage celebrations,” the statement added.
“These measures also require him not to intervene on the Collegiate Church of Champeaux now and to celebrate masses only at the express request of the priest,” adds the diocese.
Questioned Friday on radio Franceinfo, the priest tried to minimize the scope of his gesture. “It was between a caress and a slap,” he said. “I was hoping to calm him down, I did not know what to do. ”
“The child cried a lot and I had to turn his head to make the water run. I told him + calm down +, but he did not calm down. I tried to hold him close, all against me to try to calm him down, “he said.