Pope Francis Met Woman Who Grabbed Him on New Year's Eve

Pope Francis had apologized during his Angelus address Jan. 1 for having lost his patience with the woman.

Pope Francis greets a woman after his weekly General Audience, January 8, 2020.
Pope Francis greets a woman after his weekly General Audience, January 8, 2020. (photo: Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis in January met and shook hands with the woman at whom he lost his patience after being grabbed in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 31.

After his general audience Jan. 8, Pope Francis spoke briefly with the woman. In photos the two can be seen smiling at each other as they shake hands. A priest standing near the woman appears to be acting as interpreter.

The two met during what is called the “baciamano,” a time reserved for certain pilgrims to greet the pope following an audience.

Pope Francis had apologized during his Angelus address Jan. 1 for having lost his patience with the woman the night before.

“Many times we lose our patience; me too. I apologize for yesterday’s bad example,” he said.

While the pope was greeting the crowd in front of the Vatican nativity scene Dec. 31, a woman yanked his arm, holding onto his hand. Visibly upset, Pope Francis slapped her hand and walked away frustrated.

A video clip of the moment went viral on social media soon after and the incident has generated internet memes and remixes of the clip.

Before meeting the woman Jan. 8, Pope Francis spoke at his general audience about St. Paul and love of God, also noting that Christ can bring good out of any circumstance – even an apparent failure.

Greeting pilgrims before the same audience, the pope joked “don’t bite” with a religious sister who reached out to greet him, saying he would give her a kiss on the cheek if she stayed calm.