The Malta Independent 19 September 2019, Thursday

Pope Francis allows girl with autism to run around stage undisturbed at weekly audience

Friday, 23 August 2019, 09:52 Last update: about 27 days ago

During Pope Francis’ weekly general audience, Clelia Manfellotti, a 10-year-old girl from Naples diagnosed with autism, walked up the steps to where the pope was sitting.

The pope told his security detail to "let her be. God speaks" through children, prompting the crowd to erupt in applause. While greeting the Italian-speaking pilgrims at the end of the audience, Pope Francis reflected on the young girl who is "a victim of an illness and doesn't know what she is doing."

"I ask one thing, but everyone should respond in their heart: 'Did I pray for her; looking at her, did I pray so that the Lord would heal her, would protect her? Did I pray for her parents and for family?' When we see any person suffering, we must always pray. This situation helps us to ask this question: 'Did I pray for this person that I have seen, (this person) that is suffering?'" he asked.

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