Pope Francis looked visibly irritated on New Year’s Eve after he had to pull himself away from a woman who grabbed his hand in St Peter’s Square.
The 83-year-old pontiff was seen on video being yanked by a woman in the crowd gathered to greet him in Vatican City, indignantly slapping her hand away.
Making his way through St. Peter’s Square on Tuesday, Pope Francis was regaled by shouts of “Happy New Year!” and chants of “Pope! Pope!” from pilgrims gathered to catch a glimpse of him. The head of the Catholic Church greeted admirers on his way to see the Nativity scene set up in the esplanade at the center of Vatican City
He took the time to bless children along the route which had him separated from the throngs by fencing, shaking hands and smiling just before he pivoted to move away.
Just before he walked away, a woman along the fence could be seen making the sign of the cross. She reached out to touch his hand as many others had been doing, but she did not let go as the pontiff walked away. She forcefully tugged at his hand to pull him back toward her, a move that appeared to cause him pain and visibly angered him.
The pope wrenched his hand free and seemed to scold the woman, who was trying to say something to him. Though it was not clear what she said, it was more than obvious that Pope Francis was annoyed, as his face clearly showed when he turned to walk away after slapping the woman’s hand away and admonishing her.
The sovereign of the Vatican City State and the first non-European leader of the Catholic church in over 1,000 years, Pope Francis led a New Year’s Eve Vespers service in St. Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday where he encouraged people to “build bridges, not walls.”
The religious leader, who was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has raised eyebrows with his many progressive views and decisions since being elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church in March 2013, replacing his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI.
The relationship between the two religious leaders and Bergoglio’s rise to the papacy is portrayed in the new Netflix film “The Two Popes,” in which actor Jonathan Pryce plays the part of Pope Francis.
Tuesday’s incident in the crowd was widely discussed on social media as many defended the Pope for his irritation at being forcefully pulled.
She was out of line and being disrespectful. No one should think it’s ok to grab other people with no consequence.
— WillPaintForFood (@ClevrGerl) January 1, 2020
She was very rude and he did what he has to do.
— Sally (@Sally86Li) January 1, 2020
I don’t think he done a thing wrong. Security was awful but in his position we’d all react like that
— Ste Mccoy (@lpool39) January 1, 2020
Even Popes get angry
— Boitumelo Matsho (@Boitumelo_M68) January 1, 2020
You can see that the Pope was hurt. He is already old and almost lost his balance. Even the person beside her was shock because of what she did.
— That’s Okay, X(이유)Soo❤️What A Life w/ City Lights✨ (@xiumin2326) January 1, 2020
He shakes, quite literally, thousands of hands in any given day or week and Pope John Paul II was actually shot. I think he was just being proactive in taking care of himself. Also, as someone else pointed out, she could have been holding his hand tight enough to hurt.
— Linda Armstrong (@LindaSalem) January 1, 2020
Others admonished the religious leader who, ironically, spoke about making “time for others” during the New Year’s Eve service.
Did Pope Francis have time for this obviously desperate women? Did he dialogue with her? How did he recognize her attempts to speak to him? With two slaps and name calling “Bruja! https://t.co/CvMosPJnTB
— Leticia Velasquez (@CauseofourJoy) December 31, 2019
But maybe ask her what she needed?
— DeboraS (@DeboraS91563560) January 1, 2020
Miscommunication. He should have listened to her.
— Stephen (@Wreinhardt_) January 1, 2020
She was trying to tell him something. What was it?
— Charles Stuart (@Charles94070343) January 1, 2020
Has Christ slapped a desperate woman? Not once
— Semos (@RicketyJohnson) January 1, 2020
I am not sure how I want to feel about this. I know that a woman grab the robe of Jesus and we wasn’t mad about it. When I see this I think okay so are you the pope or a person? Odd attitude seeing that this pope said make bridges and not walls.
— Amused But Not (@amusedbutnot) January 1, 2020
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