Pope apologizes for hitting hand of woman who grabbed him

Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope Francis names first woman to senior Vatican diplomatic post Benedict warns about celibacy in new book seen as warning to Francis Pope urges US, Iran to seek 'dialogue and self-restraint' MORE apologized Wednesday for slapping at the hand of a woman who grabbed and yanked him over to her as he walked to the Nativity scene in Vatican City the day before.

“We often lose patience. So do I. And I apologize for yesterday’s bad example,” the pontiff said while giving his New Year message, in which he spoke out against violence against women. 

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“Every form of violence inflicted upon a woman is a blasphemy against God, who was born of a woman. Humanity’s salvation came forth from the body of a woman: we can understand our degree of humanity by how we treat a woman’s body,” he said.

Francis appeared to react angrily Tuesday when a women grabbed his hand and yanked him over to where she stood behind a railing among a crowd of worshippers, pulling the 83-year-old pope off balance.

He slapped at the woman’s hand to free himself and then a bodyguard immediately restrained her arm to prevent her from grabbing at the pope again.

The woman had crossed herself as the pope walked toward her. It was not reported what she said to Francis after she jerked him toward the railing.