Pope Francis is not known for his sense of humor, but the head of the Catholic Church proved he has a way with "unruly" children at a recent Vatican event.
At a public event in the Vatican’s Audience Hall in Rome, crowds were stunned by a little boy who ran up the room’s marble staircase to join the pope and his secretary on stage.
The tyke, later identified as six-year-old Wenzel Wirth, apparently wanted to know if the Swiss guard standing at attention behind the men was real, and was seen tugging at his hand before rolling around on the floor.
Later, a little girl thought to be the boy’s sister ran up to join the him, and actually tried to pull Wenzel off the stage without any luck.
When the boy’s embarrassed mother went to fetch him, Francis actually leaned in to speak with her. She apparently explained that her son is deaf and nonverbal, and that her family is Argentinian-Italian (Argentina is Pope Francis’ native country).
"He is Argentinian and unruly," the Pope told his secretary, Georg Ganswein. But, to the surprise of many, the Pope said to leave the boy to play on stage.
"The child cannot speak. He is mute, but he can communicate," Francis told the crowd gathered to hear him speak. "He knows how to express himself. He is free, free and unruly, but he is free."
"He made me think of myself," the Pope admitted. "Am I also so free in front of God?"
"When Jesus says that we have to be like children, it means we need to have the freedom that a child has before his father," he told his audience.
"I think this child preaches to all of us. And let us ask for the grace of speech (for him)."
Francis went on to pray for the boy.
Video of the hilarious encounter has since become a viral hit online. The boy’s father, Ariel Wirth, explained that his son has behavioral problems, but that he and his wife try to let Wenzel express himself in the ways that he knows how to.
"We try to let him be free. He has to express himself, and we live without hiding his problems,"Associated Press quoted him as saying.
While the Wirths say Wenzel didn’t plan his stunt ahead of time, they say he knew he was going to see the Pope and was excited. Maybe he just knew how close he would get!
This is actually not the first time a little boy tried to steal the show from Pope Francis in front of a huge crowd.
In 2013, a small boy climbed on stage with the Pope during an event in St. Peter’s Square. He seemed fascinated with the religious leader’s shiny crucifix.
Like Wenzel, the boy refused to be lead off the stage as security guards and cardinals tried to shoo him away. It just goes to show that kids will be kids, even when they’re meeting the Pope.
[H/T: ABC News]