Pope Francis apologizes for losing patience with woman who grabbed him

Vatican City, Jan 1, 2020 / 06:00 am (CNA).- Pope Francis apologized Wednesday for losing his patience with a woman who grabbed his arm in St. Peter’s Square on New Year’s Eve.

“Many times we lose our patience; me too. I apologize for yesterday's bad example,” Pope Francis in a departure from his prepared remarks for the Angelus prayer Jan. 1.

While greeting the crowd in front of the Vatican nativity scene Dec. 31, a woman yanked the pope’s arm. Visibly upset, Pope Francis slapped her hand and walked away frustrated.

After his impromptu apology, the pope said that contemplating the nativity scene helps one to see with the eyes of faith a vision of “the renewed world, freed from the dominion of evil and placed under the royal lordship of Christ, the Child who lies in the manger.”

Christ’s salvation involves the “patience of love,” he said. “Love makes us patient.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, let us descend from the pedestals of our pride – we all have the temptation of pride – and ask the blessing of the Holy Mother of God, the humble Mother of God,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus address.

Earlier on Jan. 1, the pope celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation in the Church.

Pope Francis said in his homily that the Church finds its unity in the Blessed Virgin Mary. He prayed, asking the Mother of God to bring unity among Catholics.

“The enemy of our human nature, the devil, seeks instead to divide, to highlight differences, ideologies, partisan thinking and parties,” he said.

“As her sons and daughters, invoke today the Mother of God, who gathers us together as a people of believers. O Mother, give birth to hope within us and bring us unity,” the pope prayed.


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7 Comments

  1. It was good of him to apologize, but I can’t fault him for smacking her hand. She nearly pulled him off his feet, it looks like, and wasn’t letting go. It must have felt like he was being attacked.

  2. More telling even than the slap on the hand is the look on his face as he turns away— no fear or shock evident, just deep anger. If looks could kill, that woman would be with the angels.

  3. And this is the “mercy” and “accompaniment” that Francis extends to faithful believing Catholics. Never in the history of the Catholic Church has a Shepherd treated his own flock with such utter contempt and derision.

  4. The pope is an old man grabbed from behind and nearly yanked off his feet. In English law, what the woman did qualifies as a criminal offence called Common Assault. For sure as Christians we are called to turn the other cheek, and the Pope is right to apologise, but he has always readily admitted that he is not perfect. I doubt I would do better.

  5. The Pope should have apologized for slapping this woman, an act of physical violence in response to what seems like an act of physical aggression by this same woman that potentially could have hurt him. He does only have one lung and is in his 80’s.
    Yes, he became angry, an emotional response of which patience is the antidote at an emotional level so this is “half of the truth” he has agreed to apologize for. The “whole truth” is the Pope responded physically to her attempt to physically control him with an action of physical violence. He just need to name his actions correctly, not his emotional state that lead to the actions in order to tell the “whole truth” and to fully take responsibility for his actions and behaviors.
    He could have yelled at her in anger, but he chose to slap her instead. Anger is one of the deadly spiritual sins that leads to violent behavior.
    The woman was wrong to have physically grabbed him, and tried to control him, a demonic attack on the Pope. His response was physical as well as emotional. He slapped her. The demon of anger he kept and took with him as was evident on his face when he turned away from her.
    Such an opposite response when Jesus was grabbed by the woman who was bleeding, and his response was healing her the moment she touched him – a total non-violent response to violence. But, the Pope is not Jesus, just a poor sinner like the rest of us.
    More prayers and fasting in the Name of Jesus Christ to rid the Vatican and the Catholic Church of the demons that the Pope has invited into the Church.

  6. Kudos to CRW for not to descending to the depths of deceit and depravity heaped upon Pope Francis by others in the far-right Roman Catholic echo chamber.

    After watching the complete video a couple of times, only persons of ill-intent would criticize the Holy Father for his response. I’m only 62. Had someone yanked my arm the way that the woman yanked Pope Francis’ hand and arm (He at 82 years of age, missing a lung, and wracked with arthritis), I would have knocked her down without a moment of thought or later regret. Her actions and shouting clearly indicate someone with an agenda.

    Let us also recall that in the last year, both Russia and China have assassinated people using lethal poisons delivered on doorknobs, tabletops, newspapers, and during a handshake. Every faithful Roman Catholic worthy of the name should be alarmed and outraged at the thought that this could have been a fatal encounter.

    If they have not already done so, heads need to roll in the Vatican security bureaucracy, and the people of ill-will criticizing Pope Francis should worry about the beam in their own eye.

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