Pope urges breastfeeding in Sistine Chapel

(403 Posts)
marmitecat Sun 12-Jan-14 21:30:07


Go Pope Francis grin

I have to admit I felt a bit awkward feeding in church with dc1 so this is pretty much the ultimate way of dispelling that worry.

mathanxiety Wed 22-Jan-14 04:23:43

So there was no silence about Jimmy ("...the young girls in question don't gather round me because of me – it's because I know the people they love, the stars... I am of no interest to them.") Savile?

How long did he host TOTP, and Jim'll Fix It, and how many teens were on the set of those programmes? What did the BBC do when anyone made a peep about him? And all those hospitals and children's homes? Two police investigations, beginning in 1958, came to nothing. Former colleagues had even walked in on him abusing a young teen. Esther Rantzen confirmed that it was an open secret that Savile was a predator. One person who made a complaint didn't go ahead because she feared a media circus. Are you saying there was nothing to stop his victims from speaking out at the time?

Newsnight compiled a programme in 2011 on his offences and it was shelved.

Smudgy -- In the case of Ireland, the dynamic involved the state co-opting the church in the quest for national identity just as much as the church horning in on the state. Each thought they had a lot to gain.

Cozy relationships between any large institution and the state should be avoided.

Often the reason to hold the clergy in awe was sheer poverty and lack of education of the majority of people. It's not a coincidence that speaking out against clerical abuse in Ireland happened when solid education had been available to all for a few decades and when general prosperity made everyone more equal.

SmudgyDVDsAreEvil Mon 20-Jan-14 16:49:58

Surely the clergy's 'celebrity status' in some communities is a compelling argument for democracies to be very careful about blurring the relationship between church and state. (Faith state schools blur the boundaries between church and state, for example.)

Clergy are already in a position of social power (obviously this varies from country to country, religion to religion, and region to region) - and to a greater or lesser extent tell people how to think and how to live their lives.

In many cases they are held in awe which makes it very difficult when their advice causes distress (eg if you have gay sex you'll go to hell/be an outcast/will offend god - or if your baby is unbaptised and dies it will go to purgatory - or if you don't dress modesty you will offend god).

And this social power/holier than thou/celebrity status makes it more likely that on the occasions in which crimes are committed, they will go unreported as people are fearful of speaking out. Of course the majority of clergy do great work for the community, but legal mechanisms and public awareness should be in place to prevent abuse of power.

Protego Mon 20-Jan-14 10:34:55

Lovely thread! I have always wondered what all the fuss is about as when I fed mine it was a case of sticking him/her under my sweatshirt and no-one usually noticed! Once past the early stages when they have got the hang there is no need to display the breast or nipple at all. Anyone who resents a baby being fed when it is hungry has big problems and should be pitied! I am liking this Papa - especially him living in the clerics hostel! When Rowan took on Canterbury I and many others had hopes that he would have a different style; sadly the first thing he did was trim his beard and cut his hair neatly... Agreeing with his wife to do a ten year stint was also a bit naughty!

curlew Mon 20-Jan-14 09:10:28

Actually, he didn't specify what sort of feeding. So it is reasonable to assume he meant ff and bf.

This is not the place to note with more than a hmm this statement "
I think there is more judgement directed towards formula feeding than towards breastfeeding in public."

Mathanxiety, your BBC/celebrity analogy would be more convincing if Dave Lee Travis's alleged victims had been forced to sign vows of silence, and if he had been moved from Top of the Pops to Blue Peter. And also if the reason for the long period between his alleged offenses and his prosecution ha been because his bosses felt that preserving his image as a DJ was more important than the feelings of his victims.

JennaJayne Mon 20-Jan-14 04:21:28

You must have a lot of time on your hands.

mathanxiety Mon 20-Jan-14 03:32:18

So when you're not referring to the pope you mention him in several sentences? How does that work?

JennaJayne Mon 20-Jan-14 03:16:33

I understand perfectly, there is no need to be condescending and obnoxious, especially when you are the one who is being deliberately obtuse.

I am not referring to the Pope, I could care less about what he thinks. I was making a general point about breastfeeding and formula feeding. I want more people with influence to support formula just as they do breastfeeding.

Does that help YOU understand the matter?

Don't bother answering.

mathanxiety Mon 20-Jan-14 03:10:53

Again, the pope isn't supporting women breastfeeding, just expressing the idea that it's ok to breastfeed, with the potential flashing of boobs that is necessarily involved, in the Sistine Chapel.

If anyone has missed the point here it's you.

He isn't disregarding the possibility that some women will choose to bottle feed. The issue was that women felt they should be covered up and that means no breastfeeding.

Even last year they used to turn away women dressed in tank tops from tours of the Sistine Chapel and from Masses there. You had to go and buy a cardigan and wear it in the Roman heat, if you wanted to go inside.

Does that help you understand the matter?

JennaJayne Mon 20-Jan-14 03:02:30

Good grief. You must be extremely tiresome in real life. You have a tendency to completely miss the point and continue a pointless argument to an unnecessary degree.

Plain and simple- I wish more people (not just the Pope) would be equally supportive of women choosing to formula feed. I don't see any celebrity, politician or person or influence coming forward to remove the stigma that is associated with formula feeding. I am entitled to my opinion even if you fail to understand it.

mathanxiety Mon 20-Jan-14 02:40:19

"I am not implying that the Pope did anything wrong by saying what he did. Nor am I saying that there is anything wrong with breastfeeding in public or in private."

I'm not saying either of those things either.

What you said was:

"I wish more people with influence would come out and support women who formula feed as well "

Wishing more people would come out and support formula feeding as well implies you think he was supporting breastfeeding in general, as opposed to formula feeding, or breastfeeding per se, whereas he was supporting doing it in the church where up to very recently women were expected to be very covered up and definitely not flashing boobs.

"There are plenty of people now (including the Pope) who have come forward to support breastfeeding in public and breastfeeding in general "

Again, the pope hasn't supported breastfeeding in general. He just told women they could relax about doing it in the Sistine Chapel.

JennaJayne Mon 20-Jan-14 01:19:39

Mathanxiety- Did I say he has?! I don't think you understood my point. I am not implying that the Pope did anything wrong by saying what he did. Nor am I saying that there is anything wrong with breastfeeding in public or in private.

I am simply saying that I wish there were more prominent people who spoke as passionately about a woman's right to choose not to breastfeed as they do about her right to breastfeed in public. That's all.

mathanxiety Mon 20-Jan-14 00:47:37

Jenna, the thing is, he hasn't supported breastfeeding in general, just made it clear that women are free to breastfeed their babies in church.

He hasn't exhorted women to choose breastfeeding over bottle feeding, just made it clear that if that is their choice they do not have to worry about bringing a bottle to the church to feed their baby.

JennaJayne Sun 19-Jan-14 23:40:15

Mathanxiety- I realise that. I am just expressing my opinion on the matter.

I understand that breastfeeding has benefits and I understand why it is promoted. But this is often done in a way that undermines a woman's right to choose not to breastfeed for medical or personal reasons.

There are plenty of people now (including the Pope) who have come forward to support breastfeeding in public and breastfeeding in general.

I wish that there were more people who would come forward to support a woman's right to choose formula.

Women who don't want to breastfeed are often forced, shamed and sent on guilt trips- I find this abhorrent.

mathanxiety Sun 19-Jan-14 23:35:37

Jenna, the comments are really not about what method of feeding a woman chooses. The pope said flashing your boobs or potentially flashing them in a church was fine and women need not worry they would be frowned upon if they brought crying/feeding babies to church. This is a significant statement in a church where women were expected to cover their hair in church (and obv their boobs too) up to the 1970s.

mathanxiety Sun 19-Jan-14 23:30:38

Regarding the Guardian article and Smudgy's comments above:

Not all anti abortion sentiment comes from the position of the RC church on the matter. Many states where abortion is legal do not allow abortion on demand right up to delivery. There are often restrictions and conditions. Abortion has not always been legal everywhere. In the UK, the campaign to legalise abortion began officially in the 1930s and lasted 30ish years. Did opposition to abortion come exclusively from the RC church in the UK?

Irish political parties have had both liberal and conservative wings for decades. Ireland is not alone in having a broad range of liberal/conservative opinion. Many people in Ireland (especially older people, who tend to vote in droves) vote according to their family 'political religion' regardless of the liberal/conservative appeal of any party, and base their political preference on old issues such as the Treaty that ended the War of Independence and how their parents voted.

People have a right to picket and protest no matter how unpleasantly as long as physical assault or destruction of property or disorder doesn't occur.

This is my main point:
Celebrity culture has many side effects, and celebrity doesn't always come from being a media star. In Ireland for various reasons, the priest or the bishop was often the celebrity.

Abuse of children in institutions in NI and Britain in a variety of institutions and outside of them occurred concurrent with abuse of children in institutions and outside of them in the Rep of Ireland. Abusers get away with abuse when the people supposed to protect them prefer to suck up to the abuser instead, out of deference to their celebrity status. This dynamic was exposed in the Savile case, and I believe it is also the case with Irish clerical abuse of children. I don't think there is all that much difference in the dynamic of abuse-enabling in Ireland and the UK. The RC church is an easy target, and some elements of the media want to portray it as having some mystique, or some sinister hold over people, but what happened to children in NI and Britain was enabled by the same tendency to be overawed by celebrity in the forms it took in both places.

How did clergy become celebrities in Ireland?

As elements that marked the separateness of Ireland from Britain, clergy and hierarchy were rock stars. Ditto former Republicans-on-the-run. Part of what kept Fine Gael a minority party while Fianna Fail seemed unstoppable at the polls for much of the 20th century was its identification with an Irish identity of separateness from Britain. As nationalism faded into insignificance with the passage of time, the setting-in of cold, hard reality (continued poverty and unemployment in independent Ireland) and the settling of affairs in NI (and before that, the growing realisation that civil strife wasn't the glorious thing it was painted to be) Irish culture changed.

I think the introduction of free, secular secondary schools in Ireland in 1967 and the ending of corporal punishment in schools of all stripes in 1982 were major watersheds in Irish life. By the 80s, it was no longer unpatriotic to hold opinions that weren't informed by the Catechism -- I think that being unpatriotic was the ultimate sin in Ireland in past decades. It was also ok for grown men to remember publicly and with bitterness that they had been caned and worse by men of the cloth in school.

Historically, Irish people have had periods where they have gone against the RC church in significant numbers -- joining the Fenians, IRB and IRA, killing political enemies in British uniform or police uniform, fighting a civil war and killing fellow Irish people. The RC church itself has had periods of infighting over matters political. I think the yoking together of RC church and Irish voters' opinion that happened in the mid 20th century was an aberration. Commentators who try to posit a clerical vs. secular tension in Irish politics and society have it wrong imo -- they ignore the huge impact of the nationalist movement and the impact of its fading importance on the fortunes of the RC church. Catholic identity in Ireland was largely a case of national identity, with religion as an element of what was 'Irish'. With the need for a national identity dissipating, the RC church has to reinvent itself and pretty much start again, basing its appeal to people in Ireland on its own merits, such as they are.

JennaJayne Sun 19-Jan-14 23:18:03

But if we formula feed in the church (or anywhere else), will we be judged?

I think there is more judgement directed towards formula feeding than towards breastfeeding in public.

I wish more people with influence would come out and support women who formula feed as well.

curlew Sun 19-Jan-14 08:14:52

I honestly don't understand the point you're making in your last posts, mathanxiety.

mathanxiety Sat 18-Jan-14 20:08:39

They also quote the price of hoggets and the racing results, as well as any notable debates in the Dail, reports of various press conferences, etc., in national newspapers, Smudgy. Doesn't prove anything about what was said.

It was a very important speech and one that was necessary. But as speeches go, it got coverage similar to other important speeches.

mathanxiety Sat 18-Jan-14 20:06:00

Fine Gael has always had a liberal wing, as have all the other Irish political parties. In the early 80s TDs such as Alan Shatter (a member of Ireland's Jewish community) were notably liberal by Irish standards. Of course, during the 1930s Fine Gael came about through a merger of the Irish Blueshirts/Army Comrades Association (a 'security' group modelled on the Blackshirts -- many members fought in the Spanish Civil War on the Franco side). And ironically, though Fine Gael is considered to be more to the right of Fianna Fail, it has never governed unless in coalition with Labour, which while ostensibly left wing has usually been quite conservative socially.

Fianna Fail has also always had more liberal elements too, and Labour. Irish political parties sprang from the war of Independence and are quite hard to pin down in terms of left and right, liberal and conservative. All parties have had both 'liberal' and 'conservative' wings.

It is possible for individuals to have an opinion without it being forced upon them by any organisation. Either that organisation has done a good job of convincing them their argument is right, or they have got their ideas from elsewhere. Abortion was illegal in most countries including those with little or no RC church influence over voters or politicians up to relatively recently -- within the UK apart from NI, it became legal in 1967. In NI the dominant conservative opinion keeps abortion illegal. Not all conservative opinion there is RC-inspired, obviously. It tends to be a feature of legal abortion that it comes with constraints both wrt reasons for the procedure and stage of foetal development. This is not all because of RC church intervention, or influence.

In the non-democratic Soviet Union abortion veered from legal to illegal and back. In the People's Republic of China abortion has been the regime's method of population control. In a lot of countries where it has become legal, protest and long-fought campaigns both for and against have been features of public life. Japanese opposition to abortion in the late 20th century (abortion legal since the mid 19th century) did not come from the influence of the RC church.

The tradition of taking to the streets to argue your point is one protected in many democracies and while anti abortion protestors may not be shouting the message that many want to hear, protestors do have a right to shout it, and so do pro choice protestors, pro IRA protestors, anti unemployment protestors, opposition to the destruction of Wood Quay, pro and anti British-in-NI, etc. In the US, the nature of abortion protest and many technical points related to the conduct of protests have been fine tuned while still protecting the right to freedom of speech of those wishing to protest abortion.

The 'taking on of the Vatican' comment in the wake of the Cloyne Report (about disregard for child protection measures in the Diocese of Cloyne) arose from Kenny's focus on the Vatican's refusal to alert the civil authorities to the fact that they suspected certain priests of child abuse, preferring to treat it as an administrative matter for the church (if at all) rather than a matter appropriate for the criminal legal system. Irish politicians of all stripes presided over the social policies that allowed the borstals, reformatories, laundries, etc., to operate. Irish politicians also presided over an education system where corporal punishment of children was allowed until 1982.

The idea that children have rights is a relatively new one in Ireland (and in the UK too, where many institutional homes for children became the playground of predators. Celebrity culture has many side effects, and celebrity doesn't always come from being a media star. In Ireland for various reasons, the priest or the bishop was often the celebrity.) Physical punishment of children in both school and home, or one or the other, is still legal in many countries including Ireland and the UK (where school corporal punishment was banned in state schools in 1987 and private schools in 1999 in England and Wales, and in Scotland in 2000 and NI in 2003).

I rather think I do know the meaning of the term non sequitur, Curlew.

There are just under half a million RC priests worldwide.

SmudgyDVDsAreEvil Sat 18-Jan-14 13:29:14

The fact that it was reported in a national newspaper gives an indication of how criticising the Vatican was seen as a departure from the status quo at that time and in that situation.

Migsy1 Sat 18-Jan-14 13:16:34

So because a politician spoke up against sex abuse that makes him "take on the Vatican"? I hardly think so.

SmudgyDVDsAreEvil Sat 18-Jan-14 12:06:05

Math - democracy can be severely undermined by self-interested organisations who believe that their 'hotline to god' gives them the right to tell others how to live their lives, using social control and intimidation tactics to do so.

This is an interesting article:


From it:

"Once upon a time not long ago Fine Gael leaders were even more strident in their defence of the Catholic church's "special position" within Irish life as drawn up in Éamon de Valera's 1937 constitution.


Once upon a time not very long ago politicians feared that denunciations from the pulpit at Sunday mass would end their careers.

Liberal and leftwing TDs had to walk through gauntlets of screaming pickets outside their constituency surgeries and even their homes as rightwing Catholic agitators accused them of being "baby killers" because they were pro-choice on abortion. The latter was still going right up until the early 1990s."

It would have been unthinkable even perhaps back in the 1990s for a leader of Fine Gael to go as far as take on the Vatican. But this is exactly what happened this week and it marks a significant, historic milestone on Ireland's journey away from being a mono-Catholic state into a 21st European republic."

Migsy1 Sat 18-Jan-14 10:39:57

So if 600 priests have been defrocked, the hierarchy is condoning it?

curlew Sat 18-Jan-14 09:15:38

"Curlew, everything is a non sequitur when c&p'd. Those particular humdingers are non sequiturs in context too."

Can I just check that you know what a non sequitur is? No shame if you don't.........

atthestrokeoftwelve Sat 18-Jan-14 09:12:17

"I would venture to say that the vast majority of people who 'work for the pope' hmm reflect exceedingly well on him."

And that will be why 600 priests have been defrocked in the past 6 years because of child abuse then.

Sounds a jolly bunch.


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