‘God has a dad’s heart’, Pope Francis says to child

April 19, 2018 - 5:01 PM
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Pope Francis is hugged by a boy at the meeting with the youth during his pastoral visit to the church of San Paolo a Corviale in Rome, Italy, April 15, 2018. Reuters/Remo Casilli

On Sunday (April 15) Pope Francis comforted a child who lost his father during a visit to a poor district of Rome, saying God has a “dad’s heart”.

During a meeting Francis answered questions from children and one of them, Emanuele, was too shy to speak at the microphone so the pontiff decided to invite him onto stage. The child started crying and hugged Francis and whispered his question into the pope‘s ears, saying he was afraid that his father, who was an atheist, could not go to heaven.

Francis comforted Emanuele and said that it is God who decides who goes to heaven and that, since God has a ‘dad’s heart’, he will not abandon the boy’s dad, even if he was not a believer.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics visited the parish of St. Paul of the Cross in Rome’s Corviale neighbourhood and met with children of the poor district of the Italian capital and celebrated Mass for the parish community.