There was a more emotional moment when, in a meeting he had with children when visiting a parish on the periphery of Rome, Pope He consoled a boy who asked him, in tears, if his recently deceased father, who was an atheist, but who had baptized him and was a “good man”, was in heaven.
The boy, named Emanuele, should have asked that question to the Pontiff in public, before a microphone. But he could not because he broke down. Then Francisco invited him to ask the question in his ear. So it was. While hugging and caressing the head, the Pope listened to Emanuele, whom he also spoke in his ear for less than a minute that seemed an eternity, like a grandfather, in the silence of those present. Drying the tears, the boy returned to his place.
Then Francisco, with an excited face, clarified that the boy had given him permission to reveal what his question was. Then he said: “I wish we could all cry like Emanuele when we have a pain like he has in his heart, how nice that a son says of his dad that he was a good man.” That man did not have the gift of faith, he was not a believer, but he had his four children baptized, he had a good heart, he who says who goes to heaven is God, but how is the heart of God before such a father, what is he like?
“A dad’s heart, God has a dad’s heart,” he continued. “And in front of a father, not a believer, who was able to baptize his children and give them that kindness to their children, do you think that God would be able to leave him away from him? Do you think this?” Asked Francisco. “No!” Answered the residents of the neighborhood of Corviale, western periphery of Rome, in a chorus.
“God abandons his children? God abandons his children when they are good?” He insisted. “No!”, The people answered again, in chorus.
“You see, Emanuele, this is the answer, God surely was proud of your father, because it is easier to be a believer to baptize children, than to baptize them as a non-believer, surely this pleased God, talk to your father, pray for your Dad, “he asked the boy. “Thank you Emanuele for your courage, we’ve talked about dad and our dad is God, let’s pray for our dad, God,” the pope finally asked.
Needless to say, the images of this moment of high emotionality had a huge impact in Italy, not only on newscasts, but also on social networks and radio stations, where all agreed on the immense theological value of the simple response of the Pope to the child .