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Pope sorry for ‘losing patience’ with well-wisher who grabbed his hand

Francis confessed to losing his patience with the woman while he was walking in St Peter’s Square to admire the Vatican’s Nativity scene.

A frame grab taken from a hand out video made available by Vatican Media on January 01, 2020 shows Pope Francis turning around after freeing himself from the clutches of a lady as he greets Catholic faithful prior to celebrating New Year's Eve mass in Vatican City on December 31, 2019.
A frame grab taken from a hand out video made available by Vatican Media on January 01, 2020 shows Pope Francis turning around after freeing himself from the clutches of a lady as he greets Catholic faithful prior to celebrating New Year's Eve mass in Vatican City on December 31, 2019.
A frame grab taken from a hand out video made available by Vatican Media on January 01, 2020 shows a lady (L) grabbing at Pope Francis' hands as he greets Catholic faithful as he arrives to celebrate New Year's Eve mass in Vatican City on December 31, 2019. - Pope Francis apologised on January 01 2020, for his widely-viewed slap on the hands of the woman in the image who had grabbed his hand as he greeted Catholic faithful on New Year's Eve. The image of Francis slapping his way free from the clutches of the admirer was an instant hit on social media. The 83-year-old pope grimaced before managing to break free by slapping her hand twice. (Photo by Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / VATICAN MEDIA" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo by HANDOUT/VATICAN MEDIA/AFP via Getty Images)
A frame grab taken from a hand out video made available by Vatican Media on January 01, 2020 shows a lady (L) with her hands clasped as she watches Pope Francis greeting Catholic faithful as he arrives to celebrate New Year's Eve mass in Vatican City on December 31, 2019. - Pope Francis apologised on January 01 2020, for his widely-viewed slap on the hands of the woman in the image who had grabbed his hand as he greeted Catholic faithful on New Year's Eve. The image of Francis slapping his way free from the clutches of the admirer was an instant hit on social media. The 83-year-old pope grimaced before managing to break free by slapping her hand twice. (Photo by Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / VATICAN MEDIA" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo by HANDOUT/VATICAN MEDIA/AFP via Getty Images)
(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on January 1, 2020 of frame grabs taken from a handout video made available by Vatican Media shows from top left to bottom right, a lady (L) with her hands clasped as she watches Pope Francis greeting Catholic faithful as he arrives to celebrate New Year's Eve mass in Vatican City, the same lady (L) grabbing at Pope Francis' hands as he greets Catholic faithful, followed by Pope Francis slapping his way free from her clutches and Pope Francis turning around after freeing himself prior to celebrating New Year's Eve mass in Vatican City on December 31, 2019. - Pope Francis apologised on January 01 2020, for his widely-viewed slap on the hands of the woman in the image who had grabbed his hand as he greeted Catholic faithful on New Year's Eve. The image of Francis slapping his way free from the clutches of the admirer was an instant hit on social media. The 83-year-old pope grimaced before managing to break free by slapping her hand twice. (Photos by Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / VATICAN MEDIA" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS R (Photo by HANDOUT/VATICAN MEDIA/AFP via Getty Images)
A frame grab taken from a hand out video made available by Vatican Media on January 01, 2020 shows Pope Francis slapping his way free from the clutches of a lady as he greets Catholic faithful prior to celebrating New Year's Eve mass in Vatican City on December 31, 2019. - Pope Francis apologised on January 01 2020, for his widely-viewed slap on the hands of the woman in the image who had grabbed his hand as he greeted Catholic faithful on New Year's Eve. The image of Francis slapping his way free from the clutches of the admirer was an instant hit on social media. The 83-year-old pope grimaced before managing to break free by slapping her hand twice. (Photo by Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / VATICAN MEDIA" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo by HANDOUT/VATICAN MEDIA/AFP via Getty Images)
Pope Francis in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Pope Francis has apologised for hitting the hand of a well-wisher who grabbed him and yanked him towards her.

In his new year wishes to the public in St Peter’s Square, Francis confessed to losing his patience with the woman while he was walking in the square on 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 towards 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.

In his impromptu remarks on 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 on Tuesday.

PA

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