Pope Francis baptizes 32 children
January 13th, 2014
12:00 PM ET

Breastfeeding in church? Pope says yes

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - Amid the iconic art in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday, Pope Francis told mothers that it's acceptable to breastfeed their children in public, even in holy sites like churches.

Children's voices, even when crying, make "the most beautiful choir of all," Francis said during a service in which he baptized 32 children.

"Some will cry because they are uncomfortable or because they are hungry," the Pope said. "If they are hungry, mothers, let them eat, no worries, because here, they are the main focus."

The Sistine Chapel, with its famous frescoes by Michelangelo, is the official chapel of the Apostolic Palace, traditionally the papal residence. Francis, though, lives in the Vatican guesthouse, Casa Santa Marta, saying it better suits his low-key style.

The Pope's remarks echo statements he made to an Italian newspaper in December in which he tied breastfeeding to the problem of global hunger.

At a recent General Audience - or public appearance by the Pope - a young mother sat behind a screen with her crying infant, Francis told La Stampa.

"I said to her: 'Madam, I think the child’s hungry. ... Please give it something to eat!' " the Pope said.

"She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing," he continued. "I wish to say the same to humanity: Give people something to eat! That woman had milk to give to her child; we have enough food in the world to feed everyone."

Emer McCarthy, a journalist at Vatican Radio, told Catholic News Service that she breastfed her daughter discreetly during Sunday's baptism ceremony. "Who would have thought the Pope would be this great proponent?" she said.

Breastfeeding in public, particularly in sacred sites such as churches, remains a sensitive issue for families, as noted by a recent Religion News Service article.

A blog post on "Five Places Moms Need to Breastfeed Discreetly" listed churches as No. 5, following public pools, restaurants, airplanes and sporting events.

"It's wonderful when moms want to bring the kids to church and nurture their faith early on," wrote blogger Mary Fischer. "But a coverup is a necessity with a baby in tow. Do I really have to elaborate here?"

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Church • Ethics • Faith & Health • Food • gender issues • Health • Houses of worship • Mass • Pope Francis • Sacred Spaces • Women

soundoff (1,126 Responses)
  1. shamgar50

    Better this, than the kind of feeding priest were indulging in, with little boys!

    January 15, 2014 at 10:49 am |
    • Piccolo

      Dude! That only happens because they saw a woman breast feed in public.

      January 27, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
  2. Your take on Pope's take

    While our carefully worded article had you all focusing on the hunger of a little baby, it comes as little surprise to us that not one you focused on the hunger issues of the world which the pope has been drawing your attention to.

    We would not deny that it was not our intention to have your focus diverted from breast feeding, we understand how passionate most of you are when it comes to breasts(oops) breast feeding.

    Now may we all return to focus on the real nature of the message that has been put out by this pope and think about how we can make a difference in the lives of another human being that is not as fortunate as we are. Yes, breasts need our undivided attention but beyond that it is the fight against poverty that actually needs all our focus and energy.

    January 15, 2014 at 9:34 am |


    January 15, 2014 at 2:45 am |
  4. Mom squirts security, shot in AIDS scare in church lobby.


    January 15, 2014 at 1:41 am |
  5. Jesus Christ Son of God

    What the pope also added, but in latin, so it was lost in translation, is that all females aged 18-35 should take off all apparel when entering the lord's house, and they don't have to be a parent. We don't want to discriminate.

    January 14, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
  6. Just The Facts

    I feel that breastfeeding in public is a public nuisance and that it should be treated as such. I feel a woman should not do so out of respect for others. And to do so in church is even doubly improper. By doing it in church, not only are you dealing with the same issue of being a nuisance to those around you, but you are also dealing with the issue of being a temptation to anyone who is weak. Not temptation for the woman perhaps, but indeed temptation for anyone who may be weak for watching women's breasts – adults and children included. Therefore, a woman should not do it in any public place out of respect for others. And yes there are scriptures which back me up…

    1 Corinthians 8:9 – But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend...

    The above scripture confirms that if you're doing something that is a stumblingblock to others and to those who are weak, then you should NOT do it lest you cause your brother to offend. Meaning you could cause your brother to sin by your actions. For example, when he goes home he could be dreaming about your breasts he saw. Or if you neighbor saw your breasts, he'd be imagining your breasts while having s-ex with his wife. Breastfeeding women should avoid being a stumbling block to others…

    On top of that, we're not a society that living out in the jungle somewhere, where there is no other nourishment available for an infant who might be breast feeding. Instead, simply bring a pacifier to church with you, or bring a small bottle of milk or something, and those things will suffice for your baby until you can get back to the privacy of your own home. But to breastfeed in public and to subject others to the nuisance of your actions, is not only improper – it is also wrong….

    January 14, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
    • Anna

      What the heck is wrong with you?

      January 14, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
    • Eyeroll

      If anyone is turned on by the barest glimpse of breast while breastfeeding, they have larger problems than a Bible verse can cover...stop staring, you ass.
      Breastfeeding isn't the problem, YOU are.
      Women shouldn't have to cease breastfeeding because you, YES YOU, have juvenile ideas about women. Grow the hell up. I am not responsible for your lustful thoughts, YOU ARE.
      Now, go flog yourself.

      January 14, 2014 at 8:35 pm |
      • Dante

        Now go flog yourself. ..lol. simply hilarious.

        January 15, 2014 at 6:09 am |
      • Just The Facts

        Eyeroll… You stated… "I am not responsible for your lustful thoughts, YOU ARE"...

        Wrong. If you are in any way responsible for another person sinning, especially after you've been warned of your behavior, then their sin will become your sin, and it can take your soul to hell. God will not hold you blameless. It's called being a "partaker" of another person's sins…

        Revelations 18:4 – And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues….

        The problem is not with the scriptures. The problem is with you...

        January 15, 2014 at 9:03 am |
        • JWT

          Now that is downright funny.

          What may be a sin to you is not at all a sin to others.

          January 15, 2014 at 9:05 am |
        • durundal

          its so refreshing to come across people with views like yours. Its like going on safari to a time long ago when we first realized that if we affix stones to wood we could make hammers. Still, it saddens me that some people only have the mental capacity to take things literally.

          January 15, 2014 at 9:58 am |
        • Eyeroll

          Wrong. You are responsible for your own schoolboy libido. You, and only you.
          I didn't say that the Scriptures are the problem...but I think your silly interpretation of them are.
          A mother feeding a child isn't a partaker of sin; you creepily gawking at a breastfeeding mother and then blaming her for your performance anxiety later with your brother is. What are you, your brothers keeper?

          I'm not.

          Lmao. If you think breastfeeding is so dirty and sinful, why do you suppose God created woman that way? Get real. You're taking this to a level I highly doubt was ever intended, Elmer.

          January 15, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • Barcs

          Bahahaha. It's not like she's opening up her shirt and shaking her breasts around in a suggestive manner. She is discreetly opening a small part of her shirt to feed her child. It's not like the whole service will even notice unless they are staring. Staring at a breast isn't a sin, and neither is feeding your child in public. Breasts are beautiful amazing creations. Hiding them is such a dark ages mentality.

          January 15, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • Just The Facts

          Eyeroll… Wrong. There is only correct interpretation of the scriptures. That is the interpretation which God has. And you can only get that interpretation from a true sent preacher (as he gets his interpretation from God). I got my interpretation from a true sent preacher. So where did your's come from? Answer: The devil. Thus, the interpretation you have is false. Whereas, the interpretation I have is correct. Feel free to disagree all you want. But your disagreement will in no wise change it. I will not waste my time arguing specifics with you. What I've told you is the truth, the gospel truth. And your own personal opinions don't mean a thing. Either you can abide by the scriptures, or you can continue on to hell. Those are your choices...

          Barcs… If a woman is giving a man a b-job in public with a blanket thrown over her, everybody still knows what she is doing despite the blanket. And it's offensive. It is the same way with breastfeeding. Whether it's covered up or not, it is till offensive. There's no reason a woman cannot do that in private. And secondly, before you say staring at a breast is not a sin, maybe you'd better check with God first on that. And you can only do so by asking a true sent preacher. Because your own personal opinion don't mean a thing…

          January 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • igaftr


          Considering that since the bible came out, it has been the cause or the belief in it has been used to justify murder, wars, the faster spread of disease, attempted genocide, then add in the fact that there are 40,000 vrsions of belief in the "word" ( definitely a symptom of chaos), and considering how many things in the bible are just flat out wrong, it is far more likely that it is the tool of satan...just look at the body count.

          Satan inspired your bible, and you have been tricked by him. The greatest trick satan ever did, was to have the bible written, then convince people (like you ) that god did it.

          Just the fact that you are so ashamed of the body god gave you is an indicator that your god had nothing to do with the bible.
          Then you try to twist reality by comparing breast feeding with $ex?...what kind of per.vert are you anyway?

          January 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • Barcs

          You can stare as long as you don't covet. It says it right in the bible. That is on YOU, not the person breastfeeding. Breasts have been turned into se.xual objects, and it has ruined society. How can you possibly say that giving a bj in public is the same as breast feeding? Se.xual urges aren't like hunger. You don't suddenly need to satisfy them or cry in pain. You don't need se.x to survive. The urges can wait until you get home, but a crying hungry baby cannot. Se.x acts in public are detrimental to children. Breast feeding is not a s.ex act, nor should it be treated as such.

          January 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
    • Trinka

      "1 Corinthians 8:9 – But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend..."

      No. Your religion is infringing upon my liberty.
      I will not stop eating meat because you are offended or a vegetarian.
      I will not stop breastfeeding my child when she is hungry because you cannot control your adolescent libido.

      Get real.

      January 14, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
      • Just The Facts

        Trinka… And what is your liberty worth if it takes you to hell. God has a place for all who refuse to follow the scriptures. It's called hell and the lake of fire and brimstone. And many others like you will be there...

        January 15, 2014 at 8:52 am |
        • igaftr

          You wouldn't know a fact if you saw one...the evidence iss that you think the bible is factual...it is only belief...there is no lake of fire, that is absurd.

          You'll never get into Valhalla with an at!tude like that, and you will be re-incarnated as a dung beetle for your arrogance.

          January 15, 2014 at 9:32 am |
        • Trinka

          Oh, baloney. I'm going to hell because I breastfed my kid and ate meat in front of you?
          When God made women with breasts for that purpose, and Jesus helped feed the masses with fish?
          You're a hoot.

          January 15, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Just The Facts

          Trinka… No, if you end up in hell it's because you chose to disobey God and to disobey the scriptures. And there is no scripture in the bible giving you the right to breastfeed in public. And just because God created women with breasts, so what? That still doesn't give a woman the right to do it in public. God gave man a private part too, did he not? Yet, he still doesn't want man walking around displaying it in public…

          January 19, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          It never says in the bible that women should NOT breast feed openly either.

          Why are you obsessed with $ex? Men do not have ANYTHING that provides a child sustenence...what you refer to is used for $ex and elimination of waste, so not even the same subject at all.

          By your line of thinking, we should all be wearing soomething that hides every aspect of our bodies.

          I feel so sorry for you that you have so much shame on your body....pitiful, really.

          January 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • SunnyHuny1

      You're an idiot. First of all, it's not like women everywhere are whipping out their breasts to feed their child, either in public or in a church. In fact, most women that I know, including myself, use a cover and very discreetly nurse their child–you wouldn't even know what was going on unless you were staring. And an exclusively breastfed child is just that, EXCLUSIVELY breastfed and no amount of pacifiers or bottles (which some babies refuse to take) is going to satiate them. Clearly you don't have a child. Breastfeeding is a public nuisance? How DARE you–you're the public nuisance.

      January 14, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
      • Just The Facts

        SunnyHuny1… I don't care how much you cover yourself up, your very act is still a nuisance. If a man walks around with a visible hard on, it may be covered up by cloth but everybody still knows he has a hard on, do they not. And they're still affected by it. Likewise, you can cover up all you want, but people still know you're breastfeeding, therefore, you are a nuisance.

        Secondly, you're so-called "exclusively breastfed child" is your own choice and own decision. What makes your child better than everyone else's where they cannot uses a pacifier. You say some children refuse to accept a pacifier. If you train them to accept one, they will. Furthermore, if you personally want your child to be "exclusively breastfed" then feel free to get up and leave service when you need to breastfeed them. Either that, or both you and your child can stay at home. But do not subject the rest of the congregation to your own nuisance behavior…

        January 15, 2014 at 8:41 am |
        • Eyeroll

          Is it a nuisance or is it sinful? Hint: neither.

          You can't control yourself, Monk? Get some therapy for that. Seems you find sin in the most innocuous places, and you can't stop from being a creeper. Get help before you're arrested and placed on some register.

          January 15, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • King of Darkness

          Too funny. So now walking around with a hard on is just as bad as breastfeeding? Really? One shows se.xual arousal and the other is for feeding a child. It's unreal how primitive and utterly nonsensical some people are. Does this breast feeding REALLY affect your life, THAT MUCH? Are you telling me that seeing a woman breastfeeding is going to turn you into a se.xual deviant? I just don't get it. It's a natural act, all mammals do the same.

          January 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • Religion is NOT healthy for children and other living things

          Does is hurt to be as self-serving and uninformed as YOU are?
          Do you work hard at being so ignorant or does that just come naturally, for you?

          January 15, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
    • MacSmiley

      "On the contrary, we became gentle in your midst, as when a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children." — The Apostle Paul, 1 Thessalonians 2:7

      January 14, 2014 at 11:52 pm |
      • Just The Facts

        2 Thessalonians 2-7 (King James) – But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children...

        Try reading a real bible next time. That scripture doesn't say a thing about breastfeeding. Thus it is irrelevant. But since you love quoting scriptures so much, try following 1 Corinthians 8:9...

        January 15, 2014 at 8:48 am |
        • Eyeroll

          What the hell do you think a nursing mother tending to her children means? Please don't say "well, the kids are obviously sick." Nope.
          If it didn't mean breastfeeding, it wouldn't have been written with the word 'nursing'.

          What chapter and verse mentions breastfeeding, specifically, is a sin?

          You're just trying to back up your revulsion at breasts by picking verses of the Bible you think may back you up.

          You're rather dotty, aren't you?

          January 15, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • breastfeeding mama

      Sorry, "just the facts", but YOU are the NUISANCE!!!

      January 15, 2014 at 12:15 am |
      • Just The Facts

        I'm a nuisance only to those who disagree with God...

        January 15, 2014 at 8:54 am |
        • Eyeroll

          Chapter and verse where breastfeeding is termed a sin. Go.

          January 15, 2014 at 11:26 am |
    • myweightinwords

      So...you never eat in public? What if I think that's a nuisance?

      You know what? I think hair is sexy and it causes me to lust, so you're going to need to shave your head so that I'm not tempted to sin. And, honestly, anyone having more money than me makes me covet, so you need to just give all of yours away.

      Do you see how ridiculous that is?

      It's an infant. They don't always get hungry at a specific time. Most breastfeeding mothers I've ever seen can actually feed their baby without much of anyone even noticing. When they have to get up and go to some special room or what have you, everyone notices.

      January 15, 2014 at 10:41 am |
    • Barcs

      Should we also ban zoos, since animals often do it and also breastfeed their young?

      January 15, 2014 at 11:57 am |
    • aldewacs2

      People praying in public makes me really uncomfortable.
      Will you all please stop that?

      January 15, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
  7. Josh Mason

    Apparently he is cool with molesting boys as well.

    January 14, 2014 at 7:09 pm |
  8. Phil Ward

    Bravo to Pope Francis for his support of a healthy start for newborns and toddlers.

    Breast milk helps to protect the child against infections and build up the child's immune system.

    It is unfortunate that we have become breast obsessed in the wrong way and women are demonized for
    doing what comes natural following childbirth.

    I like this Pope and I hope he is around for awhile.

    January 14, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
  9. Reality # 2

    Francis' needs to concentrate on his dioceses going bankrupt from pedophile cases and not inane restrictions in his houses of worthless worship.

    January 14, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • guest

      you asked me to give references about the Jesuits in an other post. I can't do that today because I'm too busy, but I will make a special post soon and will reference it to you.

      January 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
  10. Science Works

    No need to worry L4H

    The Big Story – someday they might be able to breastfeed their babies in public !
    Swedish doctors transplant wombs into 9 women
    — Jan. 13, 2014 1:12 PM EST


    January 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
  11. Dot

    @No Evidence:
    "Could this be any more unprofound?"

    It wasn't meant as a profound statement; it was meant as an agreement to feed the baby when the baby is hungry.

    January 14, 2014 at 11:54 am |
  12. Blau Stern Schwarz Schlonge

    Reblogged this on Blau Stern Schwarz Schlonge and commented:
    I think there is some Real progress being made by Pope Francis as in this story where he encouraged a lady to breastfeed her crying hungry baby in the Sistine Chapel!

    January 14, 2014 at 11:33 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      what sort of progress are you referring to? being human?

      January 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
  13. Live4Him

    @igaftr : What you propose is unsanitary [urinating in public vs. breast feeding in public] since it is for the elimination of waste

    This is obviously a common misconception among those on this forum. However, it is very rare for diseases to be spread through human urine to another human.

    January 14, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • Alias

      As I said below, breathing is also a normal bodily function.
      Your attempt to treat all bodily functions the same fails logic 101.

      January 14, 2014 at 11:31 am |
      • Dot

        "This is obviously a common misconception among those on this forum."

        January 14, 2014 at 11:41 am |
      • True but not discussed

        Breathing spreads disease too.

        January 15, 2014 at 5:34 am |
    • ME II

      Is that why no one recommends washing your hands after using the restroom? /sarcasm

      That's ridiculous.

      January 14, 2014 at 11:39 am |
      • Dot

        Thank you.

        January 14, 2014 at 11:42 am |
    • Dot

      Do you stare at someone who is urinating in public? If not, why would you stare at a mother breastfeeding her child?

      Not that the two are remotely similar.

      January 14, 2014 at 11:39 am |
      • I see

        I'd stare at both, but only the peeing person would be funny later.

        January 14, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
    • igaftr

      not a misconception at all, except for from you ( bis surprise there).

      Urine when it leaves the kidneys is actually sterile, and actually safe to drink, but if you leave urine alone, it will quickly grow bacteria, and the bacteria that will develop is harmful to humans, so in effect, I can urinate, create a puddle. in less that 24 hours, that puddle IS hazardous to humans. Also considering the number of people who need to urinate is 100%, and the number of people who need to breast feed in minute, your argument is once again, without merit.

      The two functiona are comopletely seperate. what's next comparing jealosy to a Buick?

      January 14, 2014 at 11:41 am |
    • Saraswati

      Rare, but by no means unheard of and almost always avoidable. Aside from anything else, urine frequently contains varying amounts of blood due to a wide range of kidney problems, many of which are fairly non-symptomatic. Not all of these will be neutralized in by the urine.

      January 14, 2014 at 11:44 am |
  14. Heal the world

    Everybody conveniently forgot the message the pope was sending the world. He was basically telling people they should feed the poor, instead everybody has latched onto a women's "breast".

    Go feed the poor, people!!! :)

    January 14, 2014 at 11:14 am |
    • Papa Frances

      Look, feeding the poor is not as se-xy as breast feeding a baby. ;)

      January 14, 2014 at 11:16 am |
      • Papa Frances

        FEED THE POOR!

        January 14, 2014 at 11:21 am |
    • Robertson


      January 14, 2014 at 11:19 am |
    • Alias

      It seems to me that te catholics and christians are having a bigger problem with this than the atheists.
      Is there irony hiding there somewhere???

      January 14, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • Saraswati

      Feeding the poor has not on a global scale reduced the rate of starvation and suffering. If you want to do that you need to promote business and the very birth control practices the pope argues against. This is the tough reality that those looking for easy answers don't want to face.

      January 14, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
  15. Live4Him

    @ME II : Moral relativism?

    What's the problem with moral relativism? It is that every can choose their own values to uphold. Thus, murder could be considered a 'good' thing to a cannibal. Without some standards for society, the very fabric of that society breaks down to anarchy.


    January 14, 2014 at 10:58 am |
    • Alias

      I don't know how you can look at all te exposed breasts painted in the cathedrals and claim the bible says not to show breasts.

      January 14, 2014 at 11:03 am |
      • Future Tell

        You are assuming that the artists who created those paintings and who chose to paint women with exposed breasts were somehow being authorized by God to do it. God never authorized any such thing. And neither does the bible…

        January 14, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • Alias

          The poeple who run the church did.

          January 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • Religion is NOT healthy for children and other living things

          That is very funny! You believe that God personally wrote each and every word in the Bible, but NONE of the beautiful Art was approved by God, huh? Hilarious! You are as Dumb as Dumb IS!

          January 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The more naked people you see, the less interesting it is. I've taken a lot of life drawing classes and what begins as uncomfortable ends as commonplace. I think this fear of flesh is just another leftover from this nation's puritanical roots. Europeans have far fewer hang ups about nudity than Americans.

      January 14, 2014 at 11:20 am |
      • Science Works

        And still trying to CONTROL the bedroom ?

        When The Right To Religion Conflicts With A Changing Society

        by NPR Staff
        January 11, 2014 4:00 PM


        January 14, 2014 at 11:27 am |
      • Saraswati

        I think what no one wants to admit is that exposure of most body parts will generally yield a dese.xu.alization of that body part throughout a society. For many people this is not viewed as a good thing and will affect people and relationships and a number of industries. Also, in the mean time the reaction that some males (especially young males) may have in public to such events is not just uncomfortable and distracting but could be socially damaging. It is politically correct somehow now to express no sympathy at all for the males in this situation. And that's the problem with political correctness, it generally identifies only one party deserving of empathy.

        Also, consider this scenario – you are a typical slightly shy straight guy in the business world giving a presentation you have worked on for months, working on your social anxiety with a psychologist, and a woman in the front row starts breastfeeding in front of you. Really, how fair is this to the presenter? How about 15 year olds with babies in public high schools? Should the babies be carried into class from the in-school nursery?

        This isn't to say we shouldn't make the change to a large degree in many areas, just that political correctness prohibits discussion of some very real issues. And yes, sanitation is one of them, though this is hardly major. Handshaking is a far bigger problem epidemiology-wise.

        January 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • Alias

          The situatoins you describe are only a problem in America because we are so sensitive to breasts.
          This would not be the case in a less repressed society.
          My point is that society needs to change if breast feeding is really a problem.

          January 14, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • Johnny

          Your example basically happened in our drama class in 8th grade. One of the students was right in the middle of giving the soliloquy that he had to memorize for class and the teacher just started breastfeeding her baby right in the middle of it. It really threw him for a loop.

          January 14, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Alias, it certainly is because we are sensitive to breasts, but why is that by definition a bad thing? Different cultures se.xu.alize different things yet people seem ready to pounce all over this particular one. And how does it have anything to do with being represseda. Pleanty of non-repressed people are into breasts?

          January 14, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Johny, this is exactly the problem with political correctness run wild. We should at least be able to discuss whether a teacher breast feeding while her student gives a presentation is appropriate.

          January 14, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • stasha

          If you have a child while you are in school then the baby stays home with pumped milk in supply in the fridge just as it would while you are working. And please dont say people cant afford a pump..you get them for free through wic and most insurance companies do help with the price. A teacher should not have their baby with them while they are at work just like anyone else isnt allowed to bring their infants to work.

          January 15, 2014 at 12:13 am |
        • Saraswati


          Many workplaces have nurseries and/or nursing rooms. But the babies are NOT brought into meetings or classrooms.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:38 am |
    • ME II

      I'm confused. Aren't you arguing *for* moral relativism in the breastfeeding situation, but *against* it here?

      January 14, 2014 at 11:36 am |
    • Saraswati

      Very few people are absolute moral relativists...a really tiny number. Among the rest of the population people hold some core values and are relativistic about others. Thou shalt not kill. In general, but OK in self-defense, war, capital punishment or whatever. The people accused of being moral relativists, or even calling themselves that, are generally no more relativistic. They usually have a stated or unstated moral aim as well, such as overal global happiness and/or freedom. It's just easier to spot relativisms when they cross your own absolutes.

      January 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
    • King of Darkness

      You've never heard of empathy?

      January 15, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
  16. myweightinwords

    We have become a society that is so sexualized that we actually believe that men can not control themselves if they are exposed to naked female flesh. It is so ludicrous.

    The same mentality that denies a woman the right to breastfeed her child in public will blame the rape victim and tell her she was asking for it because she had the temerity to wear a short skirt.

    January 14, 2014 at 10:25 am |
    • Live4Him

      What's your thoughts on a man whipping 'his' out and urinating in public?


      January 14, 2014 at 10:28 am |
      • ME II

        That's unsanitary.

        January 14, 2014 at 10:33 am |
      • Alias

        is was just stupid to go so far as to include urinating.

        January 14, 2014 at 10:34 am |
        • ME II

          I would posit that even without the urine it is still unsanitary.

          January 14, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • Alias

          Human bodies are unsanitary?

          January 14, 2014 at 11:04 am |
        • ME II

          "Human bodies are unsanitary?"

          Yes, very much so.

          January 14, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • Saraswati

          Going completely without cloth'sis very unsanitary, and risks spreading everything from pinworm to hep A. Even the skin is likely to carry diseases ranging from fungal infections to viruses that cause warts to scabies. The hands, which we don't cover, are of course as likely a vector as almost anything, but wouldn't be inconvenient to cover. People like to stick their heads in the sand, but yeah, humans are covered in contagious disease.

          January 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • Saraswati

          "clothes is"

          I don't usually believe in correcting typos, but that was almost unreadable.

          January 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • igaftr

          Yes human bodies are unsanitary. Only 10% of the cells in and on your body are actually human. The rest are viruses, microbes and bacteria.
          The human cells are much larger though so the total weight would be around 4 pounds or if collected in a container, would make up around a half gallon. (varying with the size of the person.)
          Humans are only a host for trillions of other lives.

          January 14, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • Alias

          Clearly we would need to defin 'unsanitary'.
          Things don't have to be 100% sterile to be sanitary.
          Or do you propose we need to cover all dogs and cats in public? Birds are clearly too dirty to allow any of them to live. What about this dirt we have all over the place? Does it have bacteria living in it? I wount even tell you what we use to fertilize our lawns and parks!
          But if you are going to agrue that anything involving bacteria is unsanitary, then I must point out that covering it with cotton does not suddenly kill all bacteris and make it holy and clean. We need a lot more bleach in this country bfore we can allow any more bodily functions!

          January 14, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Alias, Covering fungal and viral skin infections does make them far, far less likely to spread. Coverying body openings which may not be cleaned fully or out of which worms can crawl does catch those bacteria or other parasites in cloth that is later removed in the home. We are talking about very significant reduction in disease transmission. Many people are covered in small body warts and covering them almost completely protects others.

          Take a look into the problem of bodily herpes lesions among wrestlers.

          January 14, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
        • igaftr

          Of course just because there is bacteria, and other living things, and all of their waste etc. all over, does not mean that it is a hazard, but each has the potential to be a hazard. It is safe to touch other people, even exchange bodily fluids, without consequence, but just because we have an immunity system that fights these things, doesn't also mean we are immune. There is a normal healthy balance that most people acheive, and occasionally that balance is upset, which can lead to many adverse consequences even death...

          wait, what doe sthis have to do with a woman breast feeding? other than a huge amount of the babies immune system come from the mothers milk.

          I think we all have digressed.

          January 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Alias, btw, you are far more likely to catch a disease from human fecal matter than dog or cat fecal matter...we are simply more susceptible to our own special germs. There is some cross transmission, but not enough to outweigh the well established healthbenefits of living with cats and dogs.

          January 14, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • Alias

          Wow. Just wow.
          You all assume people wear clothes to cover open infectous regions of our skin, where I was thinking most people do not have worms or open skin legions.
          You also made some assumptions about the amount of contact people would have.
          No wonder we can't agree.

          January 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Alias, I make some as.sumptions about the number of chairs we would sit on and touch. And you might want to look into infection rates for various hsv and hpv viruses, fungal infections and worms. I'm afraid you are in for a shock.

          January 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
      • igaftr

        Quite different from breastfeeding. What you propose is unsanitary since it is for the elimination of waste, so not a comparison to breast feeding in the slightest.

        January 14, 2014 at 10:35 am |
      • myweightinwords

        All depends. In that instance it's more about the acceptability of where he's depositing his urine than about his nakedness.

        In case you hadn't guessed, I don't have an issue with nudity, even in public. Clothing, in my opinion, is for comfort and protection, for adornment. It's a cultural need. Not a moral one.

        January 14, 2014 at 10:35 am |
        • myweightinwords

          Well, cultural and environmental. I can't imagine public nudity when it's -10 outside.

          On that note, I have work to get to. I may check back in, but I'm in the office today, so it may not be until I get home tonight.

          Y'all have a great day.

          January 14, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • Live4Him

          @myweightinwords : In that instance it's more about the acceptability of where he's depositing his urine than about his nakedness.

          So, with all things acceptable to you, how does one treat another with disrespect?


          January 14, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • myweightinwords

          Where did I ever say that all things are acceptable?

          I do not find the human body, in and of itself, vulgar or disrespectful. I often find the way people treat others because of their body disrespectful.

          Respect isn't a physical thing. Respect, and the lack thereof, is in the attitude.

          January 15, 2014 at 12:15 am |
        • Science Works

          For laughs L4H

          Fig leaf
          From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

          This article is about the act of covering up. For the plant, see Fig. For the 1926 silent comedy film, see Fig Leaves.
          A fig leaf cast in plaster used to cover the genitals of a copy of a statue of David in the Cast Courts of the Victoria and Albert Museum. In the reign of Queen Victoria, displays of male nudity was contentious and the Queen herself was said to find it shocking. The museum commissioned this fig leaf and kept it in readiness in case of a visit by the Queen or other female dignitary: the fig leaf was then hung on the figure using a pair of hooks. Today, the fig leaf is no longer used, but it is displayed in a case at the back of the cast's plinth.[1]
          A statue of Mercury holding the caduceus in the Vatican, with a fig leaf placed over the genitalia. The fig leaf was placed there under the more "chaste" Popes; later, most such coverings were removed.

          A fig leaf is literally a leaf of the fig tree. The term is widely used figuratively associated with the covering up of an act or an object that is embarrassing or distasteful with something of innocuous appearance. The term is a metaphorical reference to the Biblical Book of Genesis, in which Adam and Eve used fig leaves to cover their nudity after eating the fruit from the Tree of knowledge of good and evil. Sometimes paintings and statues had the genitals of their subjects covered by a representation of an actual fig leaf or similar object, either as part of the work or added afterwards for perceived modesty.


          January 14, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • Science Works


          You see it goes all the way back to the MYTH of Adam and Eve ?

          January 14, 2014 at 11:33 am |
      • Billy

        That's a pretty broad question. Where children can see the activity? Alone along the highway? Alone along the highway where the spot he chooses to pee on destroys planted plants that make the highway more aesthetically pleasing?

        January 14, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • Live4Him

          @Billy : That's a pretty broad question. Where children can see the activity?

          I stipulated in public, which is generally considered in view of others – potentially including children.


          January 14, 2014 at 10:55 am |
        • Alias

          I hate to shock anyone, but even children know women have breasts.

          January 14, 2014 at 11:06 am |
        • Madtown

          even children know women have breasts
          "Yes, but children are dirty sinners."

          – Topher

          January 14, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Dot

          I don't know who said it, but I have seen it posited that babies are selfish for crying, and therefore worthy of divine punishment.
          Of course, I disagree.

          January 14, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Alias

          I have lived to see the day that Topher was quoted by another person.
          I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

          January 14, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • Madtown

          Topher was quoted by another person
          We should deny comedy to our fellow brothers/sisters. Enjoy my friend!

          January 14, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Madtown


          January 14, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
      • Jessica

        The two aren't even comparable. Breastfeeding is related to nourishing a child. Would you drink your urine?? I don't understand why people think that this is a good comparison. How about, would you feed a formula fed child in public? And the answer is probably yes! So why should a breastfed child and mother be punished by banishing them to a "private" place when she is feeding her child the way nature intended?

        January 14, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • Live4Him

          @Jessica : The two aren't even comparable.

          Are they both natural functions? Yes. Do they both concern parts of the body typically covered in normal day-to-day life? Yes.

          @Jessica : So why should a breastfed child and mother be punished by banishing them to a "private" place when she is feeding her child the way nature intended?

          For the same reason that a man urinating in public is considered taboo – they both involve parts of the body which are considered unpresentable in American culture.


          January 14, 2014 at 10:53 am |
        • tallulah13

          The two really aren't comparable. Public urination is unsanitary and can spread disease if someone should come in contact with your waste. It's health 101. People don't pee in the.same place where they go about their daily life.

          On the other hand, breast feeding is contained and does not automatically poison an area. It's an act that works to protect the species, while public urination potentially damages it.

          It's very sad that you can't understand the difference. I hope that if you decide to pee at the dinner table, your family will respond with compassion and not disgust.

          January 14, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • Alias

          As usual, your logic fails.
          All bodily functions are not the same. Just because they are both natural does not mean they are the same in every way and need to be treated exactly the same way.
          Unless you think breathing is not a normal function of a human body.

          January 14, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • Dot

          I had this discussion last night: a poster likened breastfeeding with whipping off his pants and defecating in the gutter.
          I was like, "really?"

          January 14, 2014 at 11:19 am |
    • Dot

      I agree, myweightinwords.
      The Pope is right; if the baby is hungry, feed the baby!

      January 14, 2014 at 11:15 am |
      • No Evidence

        "The Pope is right; if the baby is hungry, feed the baby!"

        Could this be anymore unprofound?

        January 14, 2014 at 11:37 am |
  17. Live4Him

    Any thoughts?

    What are your thoughts on the passage which stipulates that 'unpresentable parts' are treated with special modesty? It would appear to me that a woman's breast would fall into this category.

    1 Corinthians 12:22-24 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment.


    January 14, 2014 at 10:15 am |
    • Billy

      Aren't they talking about corns and bunions?

      January 14, 2014 at 10:17 am |
    • Johnny

      What makes a breast unpresentable, and who gets decide what is presentable and unpresentable?

      January 14, 2014 at 10:20 am |
      • Live4Him

        @Johnny : What makes a breast unpresentable, and who gets decide what is presentable and unpresentable?

        Good questions. Some cultures don't consider breast to be unpresentable (i.e. Africa). In these cultures, women often go around nude from the waist up. However, in America, we hold that breast are unpresentable and thus dress accordingly. I would posit that until typical Americans are going to work work nude from the waist up (men and women) then our culture considers then to be unpresentable.


        January 14, 2014 at 10:27 am |
        • igaftr

          "we hold that breast are unpresentable and thus dress accordingly"

          False. There are MANY places in the us that a woman may display her breast anywhere a man can. It is only people with bad concepts about the human body. It is taught in the bible that the body should be a source of shame....just another example of where the bible is wrong.

          A woman's breasts are not in and of themselves a $exual part of the body, but there are many variations to what attracts people to each other. In Ja.pan, they would bind a womans feet to the point where a woman could not walk, because it was considered desireable. It is only people with unhealthy mindsets that can't accept nudity, especially when it is for something as natural and necessary as breastfeeding.

          Elimination of waste is a completely different subject due to the sanitation considerations, and has nothing to do with this subject. It is similar to you trying to say that you have a problem with someone breathing and comparing it to someone using the bathrrom...completely different functions.

          January 14, 2014 at 10:56 am |
    • myweightinwords

      What specifically makes a woman's breast "unpresentable"?

      January 14, 2014 at 10:21 am |
      • Live4Him

        @myweightinwords : What specifically makes a woman's breast "unpresentable"?

        Some cultures don't consider breast to be unpresentable (i.e. Africa). In these cultures, women often go around nude from the waist up. However, in America, we hold that breast are unpresentable and thus dress accordingly. I would posit that until typical Americans are going to work work nude from the waist up (men and women) then our culture considers then to be unpresentable.


        January 14, 2014 at 10:27 am |
        • ME II

          Moral relativism?

          January 14, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • myweightinwords

          I would posit that in American culture, the level of "presentability" of a woman's breast is nebulous at best. We range from plunging necklines and string bikinis to up-to-the-neck, and everything in between.

          That, in itself is part of the problem. We have so sexualized a woman's breasts that we have completely forgotten they are first and foremost for the nourishment of the young.

          January 14, 2014 at 10:33 am |
        • Live4Him

          @myweightinwords : I would posit that in American culture, the level of "presentability" of a woman's breast is nebulous at best.

          Good point. However, I would argue that until it is acceptable to go around in public nude from the waist up, we should consider women's breast as 'unpresentable' and deserving special modesty.

          @myweightinwords : We have so sexualized a woman's breasts

          Agreed. This is the problem. However, ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away.


          January 14, 2014 at 10:48 am |
    • ME II

      1) Isn't this an analogy to the body of the church, in which case what part is "unpresentable"?
      2) Why didn't finish that section:

      "...But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."

      January 14, 2014 at 10:30 am |
      • Live4Him

        @ME II : Isn't this an analogy to the body of the church, in which case what part is "unpresentable"?

        Good question. But, what is an analogy? It is the comparison between an obvious issue to a difficult issue to help explain the latter. However, if the first comparison isn't understood (i.e. practiced), then it would be pointless to use it to simiplify the more difficult issue.

        @ME II : Why didn't finish that section:

        Because this issue is about exposing breasts in public, rather than the parts of the body of Christ.


        January 14, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • ME II

          So, then all it's saying is that there was a common understanding that some parts were "unpresentable" in Corinth in the 1st century AD. What does that have to do with social norms in the US today?

          January 14, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • Live4Him

          @ME II : So, then all it's saying is that there was a common understanding that some parts were "unpresentable" in Corinth in the 1st century AD.

          Why do you think that people could be arrested for indecent exposure in most of America when going about nude – unless today's society also consider that some parts are 'unpresentable' in America. And if you look at what is acceptable to today's culture, women's breast (and in many places, men's too) are consider unpresentable.


          January 14, 2014 at 11:04 am |
        • Dot

          That you consider breastfeeding "indecent exposure" tells me all I need to know.

          January 14, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • ME II

          "...unless today's society also consider that some parts are 'unpresentable' in America..."

          Ok, so it's not a Biblical thing, but a social custom/norm/law. I agree.

          Now, I would argue that decency laws are often circu.mstancial and that the function of breastfeeding mitigates any perceived "indecency" in the situation. Many states apparently agree:

          According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are about 45 states that have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in public. Twenty-eight states exempt women from public indecency charges if they breastfeed in public. And, 24 states have more laws that allow breastfeeding women to do so in the workplace. Twelve states have laws that exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty.

          And lastly, five states and Puerto Rico, including California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Vermont, have encouraged breastfeeding through education awareness and other public campaigns

          January 14, 2014 at 11:32 am |
    • Madtown

      It would appear to me......
      Shocking. I guess that's your opinion.

      January 14, 2014 at 10:46 am |
  18. Little girls like to play house. Popes and pastors, too.

    ####### :) :) ########

    January 14, 2014 at 10:15 am |
  19. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

    There is an unwritten rule in churches whereby parents with crying babies just get up and leave the sanctuary as a mark of respect for the mass and those around them who have come to participate in the Holy Mass, to tend to the needs of a crying child.

    There are designated kid friendly areas within the church confines where families with little babies can sit and listen in.

    January 14, 2014 at 9:49 am |
    • Sanctuaries are for wild animals. No safe place on this planet.

      $ :) ****************************************************************** :)

      January 14, 2014 at 10:01 am |
      • Russell

        Don't post too quickly – let's think this through!
        Treating hard core christians like wild animals could have some merrit .....

        January 14, 2014 at 10:10 am |
    • ME II

      That is all true, but apparently the Pope is suggesting that if the baby is just hungry then just feeding it is also an option, i.e. quiet baby and no interruption.

      January 14, 2014 at 10:06 am |
      • Saraswati

        Yeah, it seems like it really depends on the situation. If a mother is reasonably sure that feeding the baby will quiet the child, and the feeding can be done without disturbing neighbors, then no issue. But any significant distraction should be removed from public places. If you can't hear a speaker, priest or enjoy the $100 meal you saved for what is the point. Some people have headaches triggered by noises such as crying that can last for days. People need to weigh and balance each case and not look for simple one size fits all answers.

        January 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
  20. Nora

    What a wonderful man . I think its beautiful to see a mom breast feeding her baby' anywhere at anytime ,


    January 14, 2014 at 9:40 am |
    • I see

      What about those who do not share your adoration?

      January 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.