07:37 GMT +313 December 2018
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    Prefect of the Papal Household, Georg Ganswein (C) watches a boy who came from the audience onto the stage, play with a Swiss Guard's spear as Pope Francis (R) looks on during the weekly general audience on November 28, 2018 in Paul VI hall at the Vatican.

    'Leave Him': Boy Steals the Show from Pope, Sparks Twitter Firestorm (VIDEO)

    © AFP 2018 / Vincenzo PINTO
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    Pope Francis was addressing a packed hall on Wednesday when a six-year-old stage crasher interrupted the pontiff’s general audience at the Vatican.

    A little boy stole Pope Francis’ spotlight, having managed to break through security, storm the stage and rush towards a colourful Swiss guard, who was standing just a few metres away from the Pope.

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    The child playfully tugged on the guard’s sleeve and at one point started rolling around on the floor in front of the pontiff.

    In a few seconds, he was joined by a girl, presumably his little sister, who made vain attempts to pull her brother from the papal podium – and that’s when his mother stepped into the game.

    As the gathering continued, she reportedly explained to the Pope that the child was speech- and hearing-impaired, and that the family had Argentine origin – and the pontiff allowed him to keep playing on the stage, saying ‘Leave him, leave him to play here’.

    ‘This child cannot speak. He is mute. But he can communicate. And he has something that got me thinking: he is free. Unruly… but he is free. It made me think, “Am I also free like this before God?” Let’s ask the grace [of God] that he may speak’, the pontiff tod the pilgrims to applause from the crowd.

    As the family left the stage, chuckling Pope Francis leaned towards Bishop Georg Ganswein next to him and said: ‘He is Argentinian. Undisciplined’.

    The video of the upstaging went viral, but social media users didn’t seem to be as amused by what had happened, largely alluding to the allegations of child abuse by Catholic priests:

    Some, however, thought that the video had positive vibes:

    Most recently, Pope Francis ordered to arrange a Vatican summit to address a clerical sexual abuse scandal following revelations of widespread abuse and cover-up in the state of Pennsylvania, US. The report detailed some 1,000 cases of child abuse by 301 Catholic priests. The meeting is expected to take place on 21-24 February.

    Tags:
    Catholic Church, impaired, deaf children, play, guard, stage, child, boy, child abuse, Pope Francis, Vatican
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