Pope Francis Apologizes for Slapping Woman’s Hand

In this Aug. 22, 2018 file photo, Pope Francis is caught in pensive mood during his weekly general audience at the Vatican. Francis' papacy has been thrown into crisis by accusations that he covered-up sexual misconduct by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File

Pope Francis departed from his scripted words Wednesday to apologize publicly for losing his patience and slapping a woman’s hand on Tuesday.

“Jesus did not remove evil from the world but defeated it at its root. Her salvation is not magic, but it is a ‘patient’ salvation, that is, it involves the patience of love, which takes charge of iniquity and takes away its power,” the pontiff told crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for his Angelus prayer Wednesday.

“The patience of love: love makes us patient. So often we lose patience. So do I, and I apologize for yesterday’s bad example,” he said, visibly choked up:

The papal apology referred to an incident that occurred Tuesday evening in Saint Peter’s Square following the end-of-year prayers, including the Te Deum. As Francis was walking in the midst the crowds, a woman held onto his hand, yanking him back toward her.

Clearly annoyed, the pope repeatedly slapped the woman’s hand and then stalked away.

During his homily at Mass Wednesday morning, the pope spoke at length about the need for people to show greater respect toward women.

“Every form of violence inflicted upon a woman is a blasphemy against God, who was born of a woman,” he said.

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