During the greeting of pilgrims at Vatican on New Year’s Eve, Pope Francis has said to have slapped a woman’s hand. Later in the day, he apologizes for his action. While his visit to the Vatican nativity scene on Tuesday night, he reached out to greet a child after which a woman grabbed his hand suddenly and abruptly pulled him towards her with a jerk. This made the Pope to lose his calm. The woman did not let go after that and the whole incident caused him a lot of pains. So while trying to free his hand he slapped her hand.
On New Year’s Day, he apologized for being a “bad example” saying that sometimes even he loses his patience, in front of a packed audience in St. Peter’s Square during his Angelus address.
This woman’s identity is still not disclosed but the video of the event goes viral making several social media users raged and angry. One of the twitterati even went further to accuse that he did so because at the end of the day he is a man. On the other hand during his address on Wednesday, the Pope seems to condemn all sorts of violence against women’s saying that “by the way we treat women’s body we can understand our level of humanity.”
This is not the first time Pope Francis is facing such a reaction. In 2019, another similar clip went viral where Pope Francis repeatedly withdrew and yanked his hand away so that his hand receives no kisses a there was a long queue of people coming to meet him. The members waiting in the queue tried to practice a traditional Catholic practice where they kiss his papal ring trying to show respect to the Pope.
Few days later the incident, the Vatican’s statement said that the pontiff did not want to spread germs. Yet in words of several experts, his reluctance let his papal ring get kissed could have reflected his discomfort with this element of traditional protocol whose original meaning has lost.