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(RNS) Pope Francis made it clear that he supports breast-feeding in public. But while many people ask why a mother wouldn’t breast-feed in church, others say it’s immodest and distracting to have an infant latch on in the pews.

21 Comments

  1. I breastfed my son 28 months, my daughter 6 (they quit when they were ready). The key to all of this is discretion…I nursed in church many times, and usually my pew-mates were totally unaware that my babies were doing anything other than sleeping. – Fawn

  2. Here in Honduras I see women breast-feeding all the time – in church, in training sessions of catechists, on public transportation, in the parks. It’s part of life ; there are innumerable images of Mary breast-feeding Jesus. There’s even one right outside the church in Copán Ruinas, a major tourist town.

    The body is not a commodity – nor a thing to be ignored and despised. The breast should not be treated not a sex object; It’s a gift God has given women to feed their children. If an infant needs to be fed, why should we prevent mothers from sharing that gift wherever.

    Rejoice in public breastfeeding – Jesus was breast fed!

  3. On vacation in Italy, I was astonished by the variety of paintings portraying a nursing Jesus, and by the variety of Mary’s attire. She was rarely portrayed nursing discretely, and I don’t think that modern maternity stores invented the nursing dress, either, judging from Mary’s attire. Furthermore, he was rarely portrayed as a newborn, rather a strapping toddler. So, who has the problem in our world today? Why?

  4. Ironically, the only reason this is even a topic of discussion on a religious web site is because of the Christian religion, which created the idea that we should be ashamed of our nakedness. This starts very early in their Bible at Genesis 3: 7, and then gets reaffirmed many other times throughout. It also establishes that man should have rule over women, starting in Genesis 3: 16, and then reaffirms this concept again, and again.
    It is no coincidence that in places in this world where the corrupting influence of Christianity has not tainted the thoughts of humans, breastfeeding in public is as common and natural as breathing, and women are considered equal to men, as it should be.

    • It’s not Christ and His inspired messengers but Catholicism that has sexualized women’s breasts, especially nipples. Jesus spoke openly about female breasts and nipples (“teats”; “paps”) not as anything shameful but simply as factual.
      Breasts are not genitals (generative organs). That men enjoy fondling breasts and women enjoy their breasts being fondled does not make them into sex organs any more than earlobes, lips and other erotically sensitive non-genital parts of the body are sex organs.

  5. The statues are made by man, and are not of Mary, but Semiramis, and the baby is Tammuz. God never wanted there to be any statues of anyone, this is idolatry.
    There should be no problem with breastfeeding anywhere as long as it is done modestly. Women have gotten so wrapped up in their rights to do it that they feel compelled to make sure everyone around them sees them practicing that right whether they like it or not.
    I nursed my children wherever we happened to be, but only in a discreet manner that offended no one and my babies were never upset about the burp cloth or light blanket that I used to cover up.

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