Pope Francis has tendered an apology after slapping a woman on the arm for pulling him.
The incident happened on Tuesday, the New Year’s eve, when the pontiff was making his way through the crowd at St. Peter’s Square.
The pope was clutching hands with well-wishers when suddenly a woman from the crowd grabbed his hand and pulled him to herself.
The pope, who appeared angry, slapped the woman’s hand off him, and he walked away.
In his New Year’s message on Wednesday, the leader of the Catholic Church, however, expressed regret over the action he termed bad example. “So many times we lose patience, even me, and I apologise for yesterday’s bad example,” he told his congregation who gathered for the New Year mass. “All violence inflicted on women is a desecration of God. 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.” Condemning the abuse of women in the society, he said women are continually offended, beaten, raped, forced into prostitution and made to have abortions. “We can understand our level of humanity by the way we treat a woman’s body,” he said. “Today even motherhood is humiliated, because the only growth that interests us is economic growth. “There are mothers, who risk perilous journeys to desperately try to give the fruit of the womb a better future and are judged to be redundant by people whose bellies are full of things, but whose hearts are empty of love.”