The priest involved in the baby slapping controversy has been identified – and he has been forced into retirement.
Aged 89, Father Jacques Lacroix was well beyond the standard retirement age but has continued celebrating mass and doing baptisms and weddings at the Collegiate Church in Champeaux, France for years.
The baby slapping incident happened has June 17, during at a baptism at the church. The boy remained identified but was identified to be 2 years old.
After the post went viral, the church came forward to identify the priest. He has since issued a statement regarding the incident but denied that he was too severe on the kid.
“It was somewhere between a caress and a slap, I hoped to calm him down, I didn’t know what to do.
The child was screaming a lot and I had to turn his head to pour water over it.
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.
I apologised for my clumsiness to the family. I am finishing my ministry now, it was my last baptism, there is an end to everything.”
But while the priest insinuated that he is retiring from his duties, it was not a voluntary retirement; the Meaux Dioceses in France issued a statement regarding the issue, announcing that the priest has been suspended from doing baptism and marriage ceremonies.
“This short video is an excerpt from the celebration during which the baby cries a lot. The elderly priest loses his temper and slaps the child. Aware of this inappropriate gesture, the priest apologized to the family at the end of the baptism.
This loss of coolness can be explained by the tiredness of this elderly priest, but that does not excuse him.
On Friday, June 22, Bishop Nahmias, Bishop of Meaux, took provisional measures to ensure that the priest was suspended from all baptism and marriage celebrations. These measures also require him not to intervene on the Collegiate Church of Champeaux now and to celebrate masses only at the express request of the parish priest.
Let us confide to the Lord the family of the baptised and our brother Jacques Lacroix.”
The family has not come forward to issue a statement but have reportedly accepted the old priest’s apology.