Pope Francis and Archbishop George Gaenswein share a laugh as a child plays with a Swiss guard after getting up to the area where the pontiff was sitting during his weekly general audience, in the Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Vatican City - There was a surprise moment at Pope Francis' weekly audience on Wednesday when a child walked on stage, running around and playing with a Swiss guard in high uniform.

"If he wants to play here, leave him," an amused Francis told the boy's mother, who went up to fetch him and tell the pope that she was a fellow Argentine.

"He's from Argentina - undisciplined!" the pope said, chuckling to his aide, German Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, who was sitting to his right in the Paul VI Audience Hall.

At one point, the blond boy was joined by a little girl, presumably his sister, and the pair walked behind the pope's chair holding hands.

When he took the microphone, Francis told his audience that the boy was speech-impaired and praised him for being "free. In an undisciplined way, but free."

"When Jesus says we have to be like children, it means we need to have the freedom that a child has before his father. I think this child preaches to all of us. And let us ask for the grace that he may be able to speak," the pope concluded.

* Receive IOL's top stories via Whatsapp by sending your name to 0745573535.