VATICANCITY (Reuters) – A young boy upstaged Pope Francis on Wednesday, escaping from his mother and running onto the papal podium at a general audience, tugging on the hand of a Swiss guardsman and playing behind the pontiff’s chair.
The boy’s mother briefly spoke to the pope as she tried to pull the child away, saying that he was mute. Pope Francis told her to let him carry on playing.
“This child cannot speak. He is mute. But he can communicate,” the pope told hundreds of pilgrims. “And he has something that got me thinking: he is free. Unruly … but he is free,” he added to laughter.
“Let’s ask the grace (of God) that he may speak.”
The mother told the pope that the family came from his native Argentina. As she left the stage, a smiling Francis leaned towards Bishop Georg Ganswein sitting next to him and whispered: “He is Argentinian. Undisciplined.”
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)