Cheeky Kid Who Crashed Vatican Stage Gets A Chuckle Out Of The Pope
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Things didn't exactly go to plan during Pope Francis' weekly general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday, but it wasn't such a bad thing.
As the pontiff was solemnly reading out his catechism lesson in the Vatican audience hall, a young boy wandered from the audience and climbed up onto the stage.
Six-year-old Wenzel Wirth ignored the outstretched hand of Archbishop George Gaenswein who was seated next to the Pope, instead of approaching the yellow and blue striped Vatican gendarme.
Seemingly unfazed, the 81-year-old Pope continued reading as a grinning Wenzel danced and played around the marble stage.
The boy's mother soon darted up to fetch him, explaining to Francis that he was disabled and couldn't speak.
Francis surprised everyone when he told her "Let him be, let him be" and allowed Wenzel -- who is from Verona, northern Italy -- to do as he pleased.
Like many kids his age, Wenzel was less interested in what was going on around him and more keen to run, wriggle and generally cause a bit of mischief.
To their credit, none on the stage -- including the Swiss Guard -- seemed too concerned with the little interloper.
"That boy cannot speak, he is mute," the Pope addressed the crowd.
But he does know how to communicate, how to express himself. And he has something that makes me think. He is free. Undisciplined-ly free ... but he is free.
At this point, the pontiff chuckled, before saying, "This makes me think to myself, am I so free before God?"
"When Jesus says we have to be like children, it means we need to have the freedom that a child has before his father. I think this child preaches to all of us. And let us ask for the grace of speech."
Wenzel experiences behavioural problems as well as his speech limitations, his father, Ariel Wirth, told The Associated Press, adding that the family allows him free reign to be himself at home.
"We try to let him be free. He has to express himself, and we live without hiding his problems," he said.
After their long journey to Vatican City, Wirth said Wenzel was clearly tired and needed to stretch his legs, and chose the Pope's stage to do so.
"It was not planned," he said.
All's well that ends it well it seems as the Pope was pictured blessing the boy.
Feature image: Getty.