Yesterday's procession stopped in its tracks so the People's Pope could smooch a baby's head, like an affectionate grandpa.
Ever since he ascended to the top job in the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has been marching to the beat of his own wonderful drum. When he's not standing up for immigration reform and climate change, he's cold calling members of his flock, encouraging public breastfeeding in the Sistine Chapel, and urging everyone to laugh a little more. He's also fond of popping out of his humble Popemobile and making contact with the crowds—especially if he spots a baby.
In fact, Pope Francis has become sort of legendary for planting sweet kisses on top of children's heads and offering them a brief blessing. (He's also no stranger to taking selfies with them.) And that tenderness was on display during his ride through Washington, D.C. yesterday. TV cameras trained on the motorcade captured the moment as a member of the papal security team swooped into the cheering crowd, plucked out a baby, and whisked him or her to the Holy See's souped-up Jeep. The procession stopped dead in its tracks so the People's Pope could plant a peck and rub the babe's head affectionately, like a loving grandpa.
Naturally, the crowd—and delighted newscasters—went completely nuts. Frankly, so did I. I've watched the clip a dozen times just today and still get the warm and fuzzies. Even one of the members of the Pope's security detail cracked a smile, proving that even tough guys aren't immune to the charms of a down-to-earth Pope and an adorable baby.
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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.