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French priest forced to resign after his video of slapping baby during baptism went viral

PARIS: A 89-year-old French priest, who hit a two-year-old boy for crying during his baptism, has been forced to resign.

The incident sparked outrage online after the priest, identified as Jacques Lacroix, was captured in a video footage slapping the kid and also shouting at him. He carried out the bizarre assault during a ceremony at the Collegiate Church in Champeaux, near Melun, in the south-eastern suburbs of Paris, last Sunday.

In a statement, Lacroix, 89, said ‘I am finishing my ministry now’ and that ‘there is an end to everything’.

In the video, the priest was heard saying: ‘Calm down, calm down, you must calm down,’ he says, adding ‘be quiet’ before squeezing the boy’s face in his hands. The priest then stares at the boy in the eyes, and slaps him hard on the cheek with his left hand.

This immediately prompts a reaction from the boy’s horrified parents and other family members, who finally prise him away from Father Jacques’s grip.

Denying that the assault was too severe, Father Jacques told France Info radio: ‘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. I tried to hold him close. I just wanted him to calm down. ‘I apologised for my clumsiness to the family. I am finishing my ministry now, it was my last baptism, there is an end to everything.’

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