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His Holiness

Pope Francis: Corporal punishment is OK if children have 'dignity'

Pope Francis made some unusual remarks about corporal punishment this week. During his weekly general audience, which was devoted to the role of fatherhood, Francis said that parents must be firm with their children while still respecting them.

"One time, I heard a father in a meeting with married couples say, 'I sometimes have to smack my children a bit, but never in the face so as to not humiliate them'," Francis said, adding that the man's remark was "beautiful."

"He knows the sense of dignity," Francis added. "He has to punish them but does it justly and moves on."

Rev. Thomas Rosica, who works with the Vatican press office, told The Guardian that Francis wanted parents to help children "grow and mature," not to promote violence. "Simply watch Pope Francis when he is with children, and let the images and gestures speak for themselves," Rosica said.