Pope Francis Apologises For Slapping Woman’s Hand After She Grabbed Him

by : Julia Banim on : 01 Jan 2020 14:49
Pope Francis Apologises For Slapping Woman's Hand After She Grabbed HimPope Francis Apologises For Slapping Woman's Hand After She Grabbed HimPA

Pope Francis has apologised for slapping a woman’s hand after she grabbed at him on New Year’s Eve.


The 83-year-old Pope had been greeting pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square on his way to see the Vatican City Nativity scene. As Pope Francis made his way away from the crowds of worshippers, one woman grabbed onto his hand and pulled him towards her, leaving him visibly distressed.

Footage shows the head of the Catholic Church slapping at the woman’s hand to free himself, before appearing to briefly shout at her. After managing to free himself, Pope Francis looked furious as he walked away.

You can watch the scene unfold for yourself below:


Footage of Pope Francis losing his cool has surprised Catholics and non-Catholics alike, with social media divided over his decidedly hacked-off response.

While many have sympathised the octogenarian religious leader may have felt vulnerable after finding himself unable to yank his hand free, others have described the slap as ‘aggressive’ and ‘non-Christian’.

One person tweeted:

Pope or commoner, most would have reacted the same way he did if they were almost yanked off balance.

Doesn’t matter if she had something to say, she was out of order with her roughness, and most would not have wanted anything to do with her after that exchange.

Another said:

He could stopped and listened to her. I’m sure she was so excited to see him in real life.

Pope FrancisPope FrancisPA

Pope Francis has now apologised for the incident, admitting he had ‘lost patience’ and set a ‘bad example’ for his fellow believers.


As reported by ABC News, Pope Francis has since made the following comments about his behaviour during his New Year’s Day Angelus address:

Love makes us patient. At times we lose our patience – me too. And I am sorry for the bad example I gave yesterday.


At his very first mass of the New Year, Pope Francis discussed the global issue of violence against women, which he denounced as being ‘a profanation of God, born of a woman’.

As reported by CBS News, the Pope described women as being ‘the source of life’, lamenting that so many across the world were being ‘offended, beaten, abused and forced into prostitution’.

He proceeded to emphasise how the ‘rebirth of humanity began with a woman’, before expressing sorrow at how women’s bodies were being ‘sacrificed on the profane altars of advertising, profit, pornography’.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Life, pope francis, slap


ABC News and 1 other
  1. ABC News

    Pope Francis apologizes for slapping woman's hand after she grabbed him

  2. CBS News

    Pope Francis apologizes for swatting hand of woman tugging his arm