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A video of Father Jacques Lacroix, 89, went viral after Sunday’s baptism ceremony in the southeastern suburbs of Paris.
A Reddit user posted video that showed a clearly irritated Lacroix using his left hand to slap the child. The video also was posted on YouTube.
The furor caused the priest to resign.
“I apologized for my clumsiness to the family. I am finishing my ministry now, it was my last baptism,” Lacroix said. “There is an end to everything.”
During the video, Lacroix tells the child to “Calm down, calm down, you must calm down.” He tells the boy to be quiet before squeezing the boy’s face in his hands, the Daily Mail reported.
The priest then stared at the boy before using his left hand to slap him.
The boy’s parents and family reacted immediately, with the child’s father wrestling him away from the priest, the Daily Mail reported.
Lacroix Jacques denied the slap was too hard, telling France Info radio on Friday that “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,” Lacroix said. “I tried to hold him close. I just wanted him to calm down.”
The bishop of Meaux, Jean-Yves, told the Daily Mail that he had “taken measures so that the priest is suspended from all baptism and marriage celebrations.”