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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis’ priceless encounters with kids

With all the formalities that come with being pope, always being stuck behind an impenetrable wall of bodyguards, it's no surprise that Pope Francis has reacted calmly, affectionately and even joyfully to unexpected encounters with society’s youngest members.  

Perhaps the most moving of these moments was when this little boy asked the pope if his father, who had been an atheist until his death, was now in Heaven. 

April 16, 2018
“Do you think that God would be able to leave a man like him far from Him? Do you think that? God surely was proud of your father, because it is easier when one is a believer to baptize his children, than to baptize them when you are an unbeliever. Surely God liked this so much. Talk to your dad, pray for your dad. Thanks Emanuele for your courage.”

Another both touching and hilarious episode was when this little boy upstaged the pope at his own General Audience, to the pontiff's obvious delight.

Nov. 28, 2018
“This boy can't talk. He is mute, but he knows how to communicate. He knows how to express himself. He has something that made me think. He is free. An undisciplined freedom, but he is free. It made me think, 'Am I also free like that before God?' When Jesus says that we have to become like children, He tells us that we have to have the freedom that a child has before his father. I think he preached to all of us. Let's ask for the grace that this boy can speak.”

On another occasion, this lucky kid, clearly a Lionel Messi fan, like the Argentine pope, got to spend a few moments in the popemobile.

Pope Francis’ soft spot for children becomes evident even in the middle of formal diplomacy meetings, like this one with the ambassador of Ireland to the Holy See and her son.

During one of his General Audiences, he seemed delighted by this little boy's outgoing intervention.

These priceless moments underscore the universal effect of children's disarming ability to always be themselves, be it at home with family or in the Vatican with the pope.