Paris: A video showing a French-speaking priest slapping a baby across the face as he administers a baptism emerged on Wednesday, shocking the world.
It’s a 40-second clip that WhatsApp users are sharing wildly. It has made its way to Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms as well. The French-speaking clergyman is seen in it lashing out in frustration at the wailing child during the ceremony. The child is partly in the lap of a woman that might be his mother while the baby is grabbed by the priest who is trying to ‘discipline’ him.
The exact location of the church and date of the incident are unclear, although the video surfaced on the internet on 20 June.
“I’m going to put water on the forehead and, thereafter, I’ll embrace the little man because he will have become a little Christian,” the elderly priest is heard saying in the footage.
The crying child annoys the cleric soon as the latter grabs the baby by the face, raising his voice and telling the infant: “Stop crying, calm down. Calm down.”
The Christian priest then slaps on the baby’s cheek hard, shocking those in attendance inside the church, who are heard gasping.
After a while, a man who comes across as the child’s father steps in and tries to remove him from the situation — only to see the priest grasp the boy by his neck.
Those gathered in the church can be heard telling the cleric: “Don’t hit the kid,” and, “Sir, we do not hit him,” but he is seemingly unapologetic.
“You have to calm down, you have to calm down. There you go,” the priest tells the child as the parents of the infant appear increasingly agitated.
The ‘mother’ pleads with the priest to let go, but he refuses to loosen his grip over the boy’s head.
The father is then able to wrestle the baby away and into his arms, as another woman attending the service also intervenes in a bid to calm the tensions when the video cuts out.