Pope Francis apologized publicly on Wednesday to a crowd gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for losing his patience and slapping at the hand of a woman who tugged at him on Tuesday.
“The patience of love. Love makes us patient. So often we lose patience. So do I, and I apologize for yesterday’s bad example,” he said, visibly choked up.
The pope was referring to an incident that occurred the previous evening in Saint Peter’s Square following the end-of-year prayers. As Francis was walking past barricaded crowds, greeting and shaking hands, a woman grasped onto him and yanked him back toward her as she seemed to speak sharply to him. Clearly annoyed, the pope repeatedly slapped at the woman’s hand before walking away.
During his homily at Mass Wednesday morning, the pope spoke at length about the need for people to show greater respect toward women. “Every form of violence inflicted upon a woman is a blasphemy against God, who was born of a woman,” he said.