- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 2, 2020

Pope Francis apologized Wednesday after a now-viral video showed him slapping the hand of a woman who grabbed him in St. Peter’s Square on New Year’s Eve.

A video that spread across social media on Tuesday showed Pope Francis greeting worshippers as he made his way to the nativity scene in Vatican City. At one point in the video, a woman grabbed the pope’s hand and yanked him over to her. Visibly irate, the pope slapped the woman’s hand to loosen her grip.

The video prompted outrage by some Catholics, particularly conservatives, who already don’t like the pope for his past statements on issues such as capitalism, immigration and President Trump.

During his New Year’s Day address on Wednesday, the pontiff veered from his prepared remarks to apologize for the outburst.

“Love makes us patient,” he said. “So many times we lose patience, even me, and I apologize for yesterday’s bad example.”

The pontiff then used the rest of his address to discuss violence against women.

“The rebirth of humanity began from a woman,” he said. “Women are sources of life. Yet they are continually insulted, beaten, raped, forced to prostitute themselves and to suppress the life they bear in the womb. Every form of violence inflicted upon a woman is a blasphemy against God, who was born of a woman.”

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