Pope says slapping kids ok (again)

Pope says slapping kids ok (again)

Berlin (KNA) The German Child Protection Association has criticised Pope Francis for his comments on the beating of children. “There is no justification for beating children, not even a papal one,” said Daniel Grein, Federal Director of the Child Protection Association, in Berlin on Tuesday. Anyone who physically abuses a child is doing the wrong thing. This also includes slapping on the bottom or slapping in the face.

In Ireland, all forms of corporal punishment of children have been definitively outlawed since the passing of the Children First Act 2015.

On Sunday evening, Pope Francis approved of a slap on the bottom. Parents would be “giving the child something”, but would often have more pain in their hands than the child’s bottom. He used this example to explain how God punishes people. Francis made his comments in an interview on the Italian talk show “Che Tempo Che Fa” (roughly: “As the times are”). A statement by the Pope had already caused criticism in 2015. At the time, he defended parents who beat their children. If they did it with dignity, he said, it was fair.

In 2021 the Pope repeated his line not to hit children in the face.  He said it was “humiliating” for a parent to slap a child. “I always say it: Never slap a child in his or her face. Why? Because your face is your dignity.”

In its statement, the Child Protection Association in Germany emphasises the right to a non-violent upbringing for children that applies in Germany. Overburdened parents who do not know how to help themselves other than with violence are entitled to help.