Pope Spanky

Today Pope Francis solidified the Vatican stance on corporal punishment – smack your children, just don’t hit them in the face. Oh yeah – make sure your kids maintain “dignity”. The topic of his weekly general audience was “the role of fathers in the family”. Apparently a good father forgives but is able to “correct with firmness” – a really good father does so without “discouraging” the child.

“One time, I heard a father in a meeting with married couples say ‘I sometimes have to smack my children a bit, but never in the face so as to not humiliate them,'” Francis said.

“How beautiful!” Francis remarked. “He knows the sense of dignity! He has to punish them but does it justly and moves on.”

Never mind the Vatican’s signature on a United Nations human rights agreement protecting the rights of a child – a treaty that explicitly requires signatories to “take all measures, including legislative and educational, to protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence – including while in the care of parents.”

Vatican guidelines on hitting children remind me of Islamic instruction on how to beat your wife. Under Sharia Law, beatings are a sign of love, not hatred. As with the Vatican, men are not to hit wives in the face – apparently religion frowns on blackening eyes of women and children. (Linked below – Sharia does, and wife beating don’t s.)


Pope Francis directed his comments at fathers – maybe Catholics know their place but I’m confused. Are mothers allowed to hit their kids, or is that role reserved for “father of the year”? How come men, regardless of fundamentalist faith get to beat women and children? What is it with these archaic imbeciles? Why do these men agree physical violence is warranted and justified, provided bruises are concealed and assailants convince themselves their victim maintained dignity?

I’ve had my fill of religious instruction on physical abuse. Pope Francis is delusional if he thinks the Vatican can play nice with the UN, then instruct “good fathers” to forgive children by hitting them with “dignity” anywhere but the face. Good fathers lead by example – praising a father for “forgiving” his child after a smacking, is pure unadulterated bat shit.


16 thoughts on “Pope Spanky

  1. Last month he advocated that if someone insults your mother than you should punch them in the face. No mere slap on the bottom this time. And if someone insults your religion, by all means get out the kalashnikofs. 

    We’re dealing with a radical cleric here, with violent tendencies.

  2. I dunno…. I guess we have to agree to differ here. My parents owned a hardware store and I had a few run in’s with a paint mixing paddle on my behind and I have to say that the three or four times that I was ever hit impressed upon me the nature of consequences. When our daughter was young I think she got spanked about the same number of times.

    Had we been of the recalcitrant sort perhaps the limited corporal punishment might not have accomplished anything — kids I see today seem to have no respect for much of anything and it’s easy to see how a spanking might easily become a serious beating. But I for one still think that time outs and such are not immediate enough to relate make their point.

    Call me a bad parent if you want but a world full of mouthy children growing up to be mouthy adults is more scary than a hiney turned red by a parent who wants their children to be respectful and reasonably cooperative. Every kid screws up from time to time, and no kid should be harmed — but in a world where antibacterial hand lotions keep us safe and we have to wear protective garb for almost everything we do it seems to me that a world where people understand the risk their actions produce is a lot more like the world we live on than not. If there really are evil people out there willing to do any of us harm it might be better to raise kids with some awareness that all things are not nice and neat and civilized.

    Just one old man’s opinion.

    • Don’t believe in it. Never had to with my children and only ever got a single ”clip” from my father – and it was reactionary rather then premeditated.
      If you feel youy have to use violence – lets call a paddle a paddle, then chances are you have lost control.

    • Okay… in my estimation if you purposefully choose to inflict pain on your child as retribution for misbehavior rather than take a positive approach to teach the appropriate behavior and if you choose inflicting physical pain as punishment rather than use a removal punishment then you’re a bad parent. What other kind of parent would purposefully WANT to physically hurt their child when so many other options are available that are more successful. Your philosophy seems to be, I’m gonna hurt my children and introduce them to unnecessary harm in order to prepare them for the harm they may face in the real world. Really? Treat them badly because eventually others will treat them badly. Not exactly Father of the Year, are you?

      You seem to not understand the difference between punishment vs. discipline, retribution vs. instruction, building character and ethics vs. eliciting behavior through fear.

      And it always amazed me that parent seem to think hitting children, rather than the myriad positive things they do and examples they give is so responsible for a child “turning out well.” Rather sad, too. Do you really think that the few times you or your daughter got spanked account for your behavior as adults? All that other stuff is less important? Do you honestly believe that if those few spanking didn’t occur in either yours or your daughter’s childhoods that you would both be either serving time now or life failures? I’d be willing to bet that neither of you would be much different today if you have never been subjected to physically painful punishment and all the other variables in your childhoods had remained the same. You and your daughter were lucky if you were only spanked a few times in your entire childhoods. In spanking families, that is not often the case. In many spanking families when parents are told that it’s perfectly fine to hit their children, children often get hit.

      Just another old man’s opinion.

      • Wayne — I appreciate your comments.
        I don’t know — I responded to Notes separately so some of this flows over….
        Is a swat on the butt punishment? I have fallen down and broken a wrist that hurt 100 times more than any spanking I received or that I administered.
        But I’m not so sure that pain is a universally ‘bad’ experience. Heck– when we become adults there are consenting ones who behave in such ways as to invite a little BDSM — but that’s not my point except to say that Pain & Suffering are poorly understood in our society. We rush to eat the foods we are told, only to find 20 years later that the foods we were told not to eat aren’t so bad after all; we spank or don’t spank; we punish the poor and let the rich off with nary a thought — human behavior is not the kind of thing that easily fits into boxes.
        That said, I know one thing. My spankings were not done out of anger, they were all aimed specifically at one behavior — the throwing of tantrums — and a swat on the butt was my way of saying that if you engage in unacceptable behavior don’t be surprised if someone else behaves in unacceptable behavior. There are actions; and there are reactions; we get to choose which we want to expose ourselves to by how we behave. And the unacceptable behavior stopped after the last swat and never recurred again? Is there a cause effect relationship — I think so. Did it harm our relationship? I doubt that very much — we have always been an extremely close family. We openly discuss issues that none of the other families I know are able to touch because we have always been open and transparent to each other. And to this day — even though we are separated by 1500 miles — my daughter and I carry on a lively conversation on our own private blog.
        Am I an ‘often hitter’ — 4 times in 42 years? I think not. Did I actually punish my daughter by a swat on the butt? I think not. What I did was get her attention.
        I hate to use this analogy but if you’ve ever watched the dog whisperer; his use of his foot to ‘snap’ a dog out of behavior — explained 40 years after I used a swat to do the same basic thing — is no more ‘punishment’ than what I did. Sure — I ‘struck’ but as I said originally, I don’t think getting physical with a child is universally wrong. It certainly isn’t in vogue, but parents have done so for centuries longer than they have not and produced some amazing people through the ages.
        I think we are living in a bubble of perceived sophistication; and all we have to do is to look outside our own society to see the degree to which we are out of touch. People in much of the world do not have the luxury of reasoning everything through over long periods of time. Too often their decisions are life and death and made in an instant. Learning to respond to an instantaneous jolt is a good thing. BEATING is not. I’m not condoning punishing or retribution or vengeance. But lifting a hand is not always a terrible thing.

    • I’ve been “hit” 3 times in my life. Once by my father who lost it when I lied to him about asking the neighbor if they had seen my brother ( a completely mortifying experience that truly pissed me off – I was 7 or 8 and couldn’t believe my Dad wasn’t able to understand I was too shy to knock on the neighbor’s door.) I considered his reaction outrageous – in my mind he should have known his request was beyond my capacity to oblige. In my mind not telling him the truth far out weighed the horror of walking up to that door.
      The second time was in elementary school, grade 3 or 4. A boy went into my cubicle, took apart the sandwich in my lunchbox and put laxatives in my sandwich. Real funny! Everyone thought it was hilarious – I flattened the prankster on the playground. The school principle hauled me into his office and gave me the strap. The boy got off with nary a talking to.
      The third time was only a few years ago so doesn’t really count – an obnoxious guest in my hotel restaurant who hauled off and slapped my arm when I set down a cup of coffee. “I said steamed milk” she snarled. I had her evicted from the hotel.
      My point is – there are far more valuable ways to teach lessons than hauling off and smacking someone. 🙂

      • The variables in what people consider physical abuse are huge. As I said, both I and my daughter were ‘hit’ 3 maybe 4 times in our life. I can’t speak for my dad but I can honestly say I never struck in anger. But I’m not going to go on about degrees of striking.

        I venture to say that all three or four times I spanked my child were immediately following temper tantrums. They were single strikes and immediately upon the onset of the behavior; as if to say if you are going to behave in an unacceptable manner then other people too will behave in an unacceptable manner. After those few instances — tantrums disappeared forever. And we continue close to this day. All I know is that in 30 years since those occasions we have been a very close knit family who actively help each other regularly … just a different situation.

  3. Interesting, is it not, that for the ”Oh, it doesn’t really count as a beating” mentality, everyone seems to remember the times they were subject to physical violence.

    I have heard this view expressed almost every time by those who believe there is a difference between hitting a kid as a form of ”corrective” discipline and simple physical abuse.
    Where does one draw the line?
    Who decides?
    One man’s disciplinarian is another’s abuser ( no sexism intended)

    Institutionalized violence against children ( women, slaves, etc) has been part and parcel of society – certainly Western Society since ‘Grandad fell off the bus’.

    You will also finds ”rules” regarding how much physical abuse one can meter out to a particular individual contained in the Bible.

    I also broke a limb, an ankle in a bike accident and until I received pain killers at the hospital the pain almost tore the top of my head off.
    But there was no humiliation attached to being hit by a panel van.

    Restrain where necessary, yes. But you do not hit children. Period.

    • One of the biggest problems I have with Pope Spanky is with instruction to inflict physical harm without striking the face. Holy crap! That’s all you got Spanky? At their discretion, fathers can get out a leather belt, wood paddle, or tree branch? WTF!!!!
      The Vatican signed a treaty vowing to protect children from physical harm – what a crock!

      • Read the Bible. God ”okays” it and the Pope is his …oops, sorry His earthly representative.
        What’s the saying?
        ”From your lips to (from) ”God’s” ear”

        He’s probably been reading Fifty shades of Grey.
        Something a bit odd about a man in a dress and a funny hat. Can’t trust Naughty Popey.
        And anyone who advocates hitting kids, is, quite frankly, misguided.

        I despise religion , top to bottom.

      • Yep, no argument from Notes on those points. I wonder if Catholic priests got away with raping children because they argued it was done with “dignity”. As if a few Hail Marys could make everything right! Any faith that prescribes instruction on physical harm is a cancer to society. Physical violence is nothing more than a form of control – all it does is instill fear.
        I raised 3 remarkable children – not once was a “hand” placed on any of them. My kids never had curfews or bouts of teenage rebellion – we talked openly and taught them to take responsibility for their actions.

  4. I remember reading (somewhere) that at a ‘parent/teacher’ meeting one progressive and thoughtful Dad stood up and asked “So where does the school stand now on capital punishment?”

    I loved it then and still treasure the memory …

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