Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Pope Francis apologises to smacked woman

Pope Francis has apologised for smacking the hand of a female well-wisher who grabbed him and yanked him toward her.

The leader of over one billion Roman Catholics said he had lost his patience and set a “bad example”.

His unusual apology came after he used his first homily of the new year to denounce violence against women, which he compared to profaning God.

Pope Francis, 83, had a sharp encounter with a woman on Tuesday evening during a walkabout in St. Peters Square.


The pilgrim, who has not been identified, unexpectedly seized his hand and pulled him towards her, causing him evident alarm. A clearly disgruntled Francis wrenched himself free by slapping down at her arm.

“So many times we lose patience, even me, and I apologise for yesterday’s bad example,” the pope told thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday at the end of the traditional New Year Mass.

He had used the service to issue a forthright condemnation of the abuse of women in modern society.

“All violence inflicted on women is a desecration of God,” he told a packed St. Peter’s Basilica.

“How often is a woman’s body sacrificed on the profane altar of advertising, profit, pornography,” he said, adding that the female body “must be freed from consumerism, it must be respected and honoured”.

Despite creating life, women “are continually offended, beaten, raped, forced into prostitution” and made to have abortions, he said. “We can understand our level of humanity by the way we treat a woman’s body,” he told the congregation.

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