8 Feb 2015

Pope's support of smacking criticised

1:48 pm on 8 February 2015

A victim of child sexual abuse by clergy has criticised Pope Francis for speaking in favour of smacking.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis Photo: AFP

At his weekly general audience at the Vatican, the Pope said a good father is one who is able to correct with firmness while allowing the child to keep their dignity.

He described as "beautiful" comments by a father who said he sometimes smacked his children but never in the face so as to not humiliate them.

The head of Britain's National Association for People Abused in Childhood Peter Saunders said physical violence should have no part in modern-day child upbringing.

Mr Saunders, who was on a commission advising the Vatican about how to deal with the Catholic church's abuse crisis, says he was taken aback by the Pope's remarks.