If this incident is an omen for 2020, then this year is going to be another challenging one for the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis has apologized after he hand-slapped a woman who had aggressively grabbed his hand while he greeted pilgrims at the Vatican during a New Year’s Eve event.

A visibly testy Pope Francis had to yank his arm away from the clutches of an over-zealous woman in St. Peter’s Square on Tuesday, slapping at the woman’s hand twice to break free.

A video of the encounter, posted on Twitter, shows the unidentified woman making the sign of the cross as the pontiff works his way down a receiving line of pilgrims in Vatican City.

But as the pope began to walk away from the crowd, the woman grabbed his right arm and pulled him back violently.

The pope appears to grimace in pain and, in uncustomary fashion, berates the woman and twice slaps her hand to free himself.

Pope Francis apologized for his reaction during an address on New Year’s Day.

Pope Francis apologized Wednesday for his widely-viewed slap of a woman 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.

A personal apology followed. “We lose patience many times,” Francis confessed.

“It happens to me too. I apologise for the bad example given yesterday,” the head of the Catholic church said before celebrating Mass at the Vatican.

And while I am no fan of this Pope, I think his response was understandable.

However, it pairs poorly with this homily for the day.

Pope Francis is pinning much of his hopes for a more peaceful world in the new year on women, saying violence against them is akin to profaning God and calling for them to be increasingly involved in making major decisions.

In his homily Wednesday in St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis decried the “many times women’s bodies are sacrificed on the profane altar of advertisements, of profit, of pornography.” He also lamented that women are ”continually offended, beaten, raped, forced into prostitution” or forced to have abortions. The Catholic Church forbids abortion.

…He contended that if we want a better world in the new year, we should treat women with dignity.

Here’s to hoping Pope Francis spends more time on self-reflection and preventing sexual abuse by the clergy this year, rather than deriding President Trump and promoting green justice policies.

The internet never fails us:

 
 
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