Heartsick boy asks Pope Francis if his atheist dad is in heaven

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Vatican has clarified a tantalizing bit of reported speech from the Pope in a left-leaning Italian newspaper. According to BuzzFeed News, the 93-year-old founder of La Repubblica" had an informal interview with the Pope

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Pontiff calls sobbing boy to him, then shares child’s story

A tearful boy mustered the courage to approach Pope Francis with questions about the fate of his deceased father, according to Huffington Postand received an embrace and consolation in return.

Francis, during a papal visit to the St. Paul of the Cross parish outside Rome, referred to the child as Emanuele.

The boy approached the microphone during a question-and-answer session with children of the parish, according to Newsweek.             

Emanuele can be seen smiling at the pope in a video before freezing. "I can't do it," he says.

The pope summoned the young boy to come to him. "Come, come to me, Emanuele," Francis said. "Come and whisper it in my ear."

A papal aide helped the boy up to the platform where the pope sat.

Francis embraced the boy. Their heads touching, the pope and boy spoke privately before Emanuele returned to his seat.

After asking permission, the pope shared the boy's question with a small crowd.

"'A little while ago my father passed away. He was a nonbeliever, but he had all four of his children baptized," the pope recalled the boy saying. "He was a good man. Is dad in heaven?'"

"That man did not have the gift of faith, he wasn't a believer, but he had his children baptized. He had a good heart."

Francis asked the children in the crowd if they thought God would abandon a father like Emanuele's, who was a good man.

The children shouted back: "No!"

"There, Emanuele: That is the answer," the pope said, according to a translation provided by the Catholic News Service.

About the Author