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Pope says it's OK to spank kids as long as their dignity is intact

Pope Francis says it's OK to spank your children — as long as their dignity is maintained.

Francis made the remarks this week during his weekly general audience, which was devoted to the role of fathers in the family.

Francis outlined the traits of a good father: one who forgives but is able to "correct with firmness" while not discouraging the child.

He said: "One time, I heard a father in a meeting with married couples say 'I sometimes have to smack my children a bit, but never in the face so as to not humiliate them.'"

"How beautiful!" Francis remarked. "He knows the sense of dignity! He has to punish them but does it justly and moves on."

Emails seeking comment from the Vatican Thursday were not immediately returned.