Pope Francis today baptised the child of an unmarried couple during a ceremony in the Sistine Chapel, in Rome.
The unnamed parents and their child took part in the traditional Baptism Of The Lord mass with 31 others, commemorating the day St John baptised Jesus.
The Pope has previously called priests who refuse to baptize children of unmarried women ‘hypocrites’, saying there was need for them to baptize the kids in order to pass on the Christian faith.
Speaking in the relaxed manner that has become his trademark during the baptism, Pope Francis also broke with the tradition of delivering long and formal speech, and instead read a short script he had written himself.
Earlier on in September, the pontiff had telephoned an Italian woman to tell her he would personally baptise her child after she became pregnant by a man who was already married.
Shop worker Anna Romano, 35, was on holiday when she received the call from the Argentinian Pope.
At the time she said:
‘I addressed the letter simply to Pope Francis, the Vatican and put it in the post. I didn’t even send it recorded delivery. I didn’t really expect to get a reply but then out of the blue when I was on holiday I had a phone call from him.
The number was from Rome, with a 06 dial code, and as soon as he started speaking I recognised the voice as his.
I was just so surprised that he had telephoned me. He said that he had read my letter and he wanted to speak to me personally about it and reassure me that someone was worried about me.