Last week, a viral video surfaced showing a French Catholic priest slapping a baby when it wouldn’t stop crying during its baptismal ceremony.
The latter part of the video saw the father of the child wrestling for control of the baby as the priest stubbornly clung to the child.
At the time, nothing much was known about the video except that it must have happened somewhere in France because everyone was talking in French. However, more details have emerged including the announcement that the priest has been forced into retirement.
The name of the priest is Father Jacques Lacroix and the incident happened last Sunday at the Collegiate Church in Champeaux, near Melun, located in the suburbs southeast of Paris.
The video shows an irritated Father Lacroix trying to calm the baby down by saying “Calm down, calm down, you must calm down,” then adds “be quiet” as he squeezed the baby’s face with his hands.
When that didn’t stop the child, he twisted the boy’s face so that they were eye-to-eye then slapped him. Then he proceeded to hug the boy’s head to his chest again as if nothing had happened as shocked murmurs could be heard in the background.
That’s when the father stepped in and had to wrestle the baby away as the priest didn’t want to let go.
In an interview with France Info radio last Friday, the disgraced priest said, “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.
“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 apologized for my clumsiness to the family. I am finishing my ministry now, it was my last baptism, there is an end to everything.”
The Bishop of Meaux, Jean-Yves, further added that he had “taken measures so that the priest is suspended from all baptism and marriage celebrations.” While Father Lacroix will still be allowed to celebrate mass, it will have to be cleared by Church authorities beforehand.
The Bishop said, “This gesture is all the more regrettable because the baptism is meant to be a happy moment, but tiredness and great age clearly played a part.” Father Lacroix is 89 years old.
In the end, the parents accepted Father Lacroix’s apology and their son was baptized. However, no one could explain how the now-viral video ended up on YouTube.