Pope Francis met woman who grabbed him New Year’s Eve

Vatican City, Feb 5, 2020 / 04:50 am (CNA).- Pope Francis in January met and shook hands with the woman with whom he lost his patience after being grabbed in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 31.

After his general audience Jan. 8, Pope Francis spoke briefly with the woman. In photos the two can be seen smiling at each other as they shake hands. A priest standing near the woman appears to be acting as interpreter.

The two met during what is called the “baciamano,” a time reserved for certain pilgrims to greet the pope following an audience.

Francis had apologized during his Angelus address Jan. 1 for having lost his patience with the woman the night before.

“Many times we lose our patience; me too. I apologize for yesterday’s bad example,” he said.

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

A video clip of the moment went viral on social media soon after and the incident has generated internet memes and remixes of the clip.

Before meeting the woman Jan. 8, Pope Francis spoke at his general audience about St. Paul and love of God, also noting that Christ can bring good out of any circumstance – even an apparent failure.

Greeting pilgrims before the same audience, the pope joked “don’t bite” with a religious sister who reached out to greet him, saying he would give her a kiss on the cheek if she stayed calm.


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  1. The original altercation looked like a mishap that — from a distance — was easily understandable from both sides. Glad the pope finally made nice with the poor woman. It would be traumatic to be a devotee and suddenly find yourself face-to-face and smacked down by His Holiness. Seems crazy to parade 80 year old men around in front of the masses anyway.

  2. She ought to be ashamed of herself. He is human. He has every right to act like it. I would never do that. It’s distasteful and can be scary for someone like the pope. Never know what people are capable of. Could have been someone with dangerous intent. He was startled. God bless our Pope.

  3. Perhaps the woman’s who blessed herself before she grabbed his hand, was trying to tell him not to go forward with the deal MC Carrick brokered with the Chicoms that sold out the underground true Catholic Church previously recognized by the Vatican, and instead recognized the state run Catholic Church run by the Communist Party. The Chinese Communists forked over billions of dollars to the Vatican it desperately needed because of the Vatican bank problems and the payouts to victims of clergy abuse. His angry reaction makes more sense if you look at the situation from this more enlightened point of view.

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