Pope's Sex Abuse Commission on Spanking Remarks: Um, No

Commission will recommend Francis revise his remarks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 7, 2015 11:30 AM CST
Pope's Sex Abuse Commission on Spanking Remarks: Um, No
Pope Francis is shown in the Synod hall on the occasion of the closing ceremony of the IV Scholas Occurrentes World Educational Congress, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Members of Pope Francis' sex abuse commission have criticized his remarks that it is OK for parents to spank their children, saying there is no place for physical discipline and that the commission would be making recommendations to him about protecting kids from corporal punishment. The commission met with its full 17 members for the first time this week and announced progress today on several policies and upcoming educational seminars, but they got an unexpected and urgent new task when Francis told his weekly general audience this week that it was OK for parents to spank their children if their dignity was respected. The remarks were criticized by Germany, where corporal punishment for children is illegal, and from leading advocacy groups.

Commission member Peter Saunders, who was sexually abused by a priest as a teen, said the committee would recommend that the pope revise his remarks. "It might start off as a light tap, but actually the whole idea about hitting children is about inflicting pain," he said. "That's what it's about and there is no place in this day and age for having physical punishment, for inflicting pain, in terms of how you discipline your children." Another commission member, Dr. Krysten Winter-Green, a New Zealand native now working in the US with abused young people, said any physical punishment of children by a parent or someone in a more powerful position was unacceptable. "There has to be positive parenting, in a different way," she said. Click for the pope's remarks. (Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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