Jesus said, “Let the children come to me” and the pope seems to agree. A 6-year-old boy climbed on stage during Pope Francis’ general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday. Video shows the lad going up to a stoic Swiss Guard and tugging on his sleeve as if to check if the brightly colored guard was real. The boy also ran around the stage and the pontiff’s chair, carefree to his surroundings.
Shortly after the boy, identified by the Associated Press as Wenzel Wirth, upstaged the pope, the boy’s Argentine-Italian mother went up to try to get him back to his seat. She explained to the pope that the boy was impaired and couldn’t speak. Francis told her, “Let him be, let him be” and the mother retreated and let Wenzel continue to play. As the mother was leaving the stage, Francis leaned over to Bishop Georg Ganswein sitting next to him and said, “He is Argentinian. Undisciplined,” according to Reuters. The pope is also Argentinian.
When the pope took the microphone to address the audience afterward, he said, “This child cannot speak. He is mute. But he can communicate. And he has something that made me think: He’s free. Undiciplined-ly free, but he’s free,” a chuckling Francis said to applause from the crowd. “It made me think, ‘Am I so free before God?'”The boy’s father, Ariel Wirth, told AP that at their Verona, Italy, home, that the family tries to let the boy express himself in any way he can.