A French priest has been suspended from all church activities after a video of him slapping a baby during a baptism went viral.
A statement released Friday by Meaux Dioceses in France said the church took provisional measures to ensure that Father Jacque Lacroix, 89, “was suspended from all baptism and marriage celebrations.”
The statement reads, “This short video is an excerpt from the celebration which the baby cries a lot. The elderly priest loses his temper and slaps the child. Aware of this inappropriate gesture, the priest apologized to the family at the end of the baptism.”
It also said the priest was likely tired, but that “does not excuse him.”
The video, which has been viewed more than 5 million times, sparked backlash on social media.
Father Lacroix spoke to France Info radio about the video, referring to the strike as “something between a caress and a little slap,” The Local France reported.
“The child was bawling and I needed to turn his head so I could pour the water. I was saying ‘be quiet’ but he wouldn’t calm down,” the priest told France Info radio on Friday.