A viral video of a priest slapping a baby across the face during a baptism has created a mix of emotions on the internet. He has been identified as 89-year-old Father Jacques Lacroix.
In the 44-second video, the crying toddler was being held by a woman while the priest rubbed the boy’s head and his face, seemingly attempting to offer comfort. However, after numerous attempts to have the boy silenced, the priest lost control of the situation.
Soon after, Lacroix slapped the child across his cheeks and brought him closer to his face, presumably attempting to calm him down. But this prompted a response from a man and a woman appearing to the child’s parents, with the father forcibly removing the screaming child from the priest’s hold.
Watch the incident below:
Lacroix addressed the incident on France Info radio, justifying the incident as “something between a caress and a little slap.”
“The child was bawling and I needed to turn his head so I could pour the water. I was saying ‘be quiet’ but he wouldn’t calm down,” Lacroix said. “It was something between a caress and a little slap. I was trying to calm him down, I didn’t really know what to do,” he said.
Reports are that Father Lacroix has since been suspended from all baptisms and marriage celebrations.