‘Sorry I lost patience with hand-shaker who yanked me’
Pope Francis has apologised for hitting the hand of a well-wisher who grabbed him and yanked him toward her.
In his new year’s wishes to the public in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, Francis confessed to losing his patience with the woman while he was strolling in the square Tuesday night to admire the Vatican’s Nativity scene.
Cameras captured the scene when the woman, from behind a barrier, reached out and grabbed the pope’s hand, pulling him violently toward her. Francis reacted sharply, exclaimed something and then slapped her hand so she would let him go. Frowning in anger, he turned and strode away.
He then continued his tour, walking with some difficulty while maintaining a slightly greater distance from visitors, and gradually relaxed again as he came into contact with other children on New Year’s Eve.
In his impromptu remarks Wednesday, Francis said “so many times we lose patience. Me, too.” He then added “I say ‘excuse me’ for the bad example” he gave in the incident Tuesday.
Comments on Twitter were mostly supportive of the pontiff’s instinctive reaction.
“HE IS HUMAN.. Been (sic) a Pope doesn’t make you immune to Pain or avoid Reaction to pain,” one typical comment read.