A member of Pope Francis’ newly-established sex abuse commission has sharply rebuked a remark made by the pontiff, which seemed to encourage smacking children, as long as their dignity is respected.
The whole idea of hitting children is about inflicting pain. That's what it is about, and there is no place in this day and age for having physical punishment, inflicting pain in terms of how you discipline your children.
Commission member Peter Saunders was sexually abused by a priest as a teen. He said:
“He’s (Pope Francis) never had to raise children and he doesn’t know much about that. And again I think it’s a perfect illustration of why he’s asked the commission, which is a mixed bag of people – some of us parents, some of us not – to advice him on these matters.”
“I think that we need to talk to the pope about this issue, because there are millions of children around the world who are physically beaten on a daily basis. And, you know, it might start off as a light tap, (but) actually the whole idea of hitting children is about inflicting pain. That’s what it is about, and there is no place in this day and age for having physical punishment, inflicting pain in terms of how you discipline your children.”
“Discipline comes from the word ‘disciple’ which means to follow… Children don’t need to be hit. We need to talk about positive parenting.”
As a result, the 17-member group says it will make recommendations to the pope on protecting children from corporal punishment.