After the Elevator - © Vatican Media

Pope Francis Asks Pardon for Impatience With Woman Who Grabbed Him Abruptly Last Night

During Angelus Address on Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, 83-year-old Pope Recalls Love Is Patient

Share this Entry

Pope Francis has asked pardon publicly for his impatient reaction with the woman who abruptly grabbed him last night when he stepped into St. Peter’s Square to meditate near the Nativity Scene and to greet the crowds.

Francis did so today, January 1, 2020, before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, recalling that “love is patient.”

Reflecting on “the patience of love,” the Argentine Pope recalled that “love makes us patient.”

“So often, we lose patience,” he acknowledged.

After celebrating Vespers, in the Vatican Basilica, the Pope went to St. Peter’s Square and he meditated in front of the manger. Before and after this visit to the crèche, the pope greeted those present, including kissing babies, greeting the disabled and crowds, and blessing children.

During these spontaneous greetings, often there are surprises, and occasionally some incidents. While walking through the crowds, a little boy fell from the railing and the Pope turned to bless him, offering him a rosary. Also, a choir sang for the Pope in English.

However, a woman grabbed the Pope’s hand, gripped it firmly, while he wanted to move away, as if she did not want to let him go. This caused the 83-year-old Pope to lose his patience.

Recalling salvation in Christ is not “magic” but “patient,” Pope Francis this afternoon asked pardon for his impatience.

“I apologize,” the Holy Father said, “for the bad example yesterday.”

Share this Entry

Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio, Sky, and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation