23 March 2019
Pope Francis baptizes a newborn in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday. Photo: Reuters
Pope Francis baptizes a newborn in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

Feel free to breastfeed, pope tells moms in Sistine Chapel

Pope Francis told the mothers of 33 infants he baptized in the Sistine Chapel Sunday to feel free to breastfeed them there, Reuters reported.

“You mothers give your children milk, and even now, if they cry because they are hungry, breastfeed them — don’t worry,” he said, departing from his prepared text.

The written text of his sermon had the phrase “give them milk”, but he changed it to use the Italian term “allattateli”, which means “breastfeed them”, and added that they should not hesitate.

As the 20 girls and 13 boys cried in the chapel — famous for Michelangelo’s frescoes and where popes are elected — Francis asked his listeners to remember poor mothers around the world, “too many, unfortunately, who cant give food to their children”.

Meanwhile, in an interview published Sunday, the pope called for more regulation of financial markets.

But he rejected accusations that his criticisms of unbridled capitalism were Marxist.

“Markets and financial speculation cannot enjoy absolute autonomy,” he said in the interview in La Stampa newspaper, calling for greater ethics in the economy and a better distribution of the Earth’s resources.

“We cannot wait any longer to resolve the structural causes of poverty in order to cure our society of an illness that can only lead to new crises,” he said.

Some critics, including conservative Catholics in the United States, have called the pope a Marxist. But he said he was just stating the teachings of the church.

“If I repeat some sermons by the first fathers of the church in the second or third centuries about how the poor must be treated, some would accuse me of preaching a Marxist homily,” Francis said.

“The New Testament does not condemn wealth but the idolatry of wealth.”

The pope has condemned huge salaries and bonuses, calling them symptoms of an economy based on greed, and also said speculation in food commodities was undermining the global fight against poverty and hunger.

The interview is from a chapter of an Italian book called Pope Francis: This Economy Kills, to be published this week.

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