89-year-old French Catholic Priest, Father Jacques Lacroix, who slapped a 2-year-old boy in a video which went viral after Sunday’s baptism ceremony in the southeastern suburbs of Paris, has announced his retirement and regret over the incident.
In the video which went viral, the Catholic Priest was spotted telling the parents of the baby “I’m going to put water on the forehead, and after I’ll embrace the little man, because he will have become a little Christian.”
But the baby wouldn’t stop crying, so Fr Lacroix grabbed his head and said, “Stop crying, calm down.” The anxious parents appeared to want him to hand the baby back, but he gripped tighter before slapping the baby on the cheek.
The boy’s father tried to take the infant, but Fr Lacroix pulled the baby’s head towards his own, and said: “You have to calm down, you have to calm down.” Eventually Fr Lacroix relented, the man telling him, “no, no, no”. The baby cried the whole time.
Though the video a Reddit User shared showed a clearly irritated Lacroix using his left hand to slap the child, however he denied the slap was too severe, saying he was just trying to calm the baby as it wouldn’t stop crying.
“The child was screaming a lot and I had to turn his head to pour water over it,” he told France Info Radio.
“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.”
Announcing that the baptism was his last, Lacroix said;
“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.”
Local Bishop Jean-Yves said immediate measures had been taken to suspend Fr Lacroix from any future marriage and baptism celebrations. The bishop blamed the incident on Fr Lacroix being old and tired.
“[It was a] loss of coolness that can be explained but not excused,” he said.