Copyright: Vatican Media

Pope Francis Shakes Hand of Asian Woman at General Audience to Whom He Had Apologized for Abruptly Dismissing on New Year’s Eve

Francis Already Had Asked Pardon After Yanking Hand From Woman Who Would Not Let Him Go

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Pope Francis has met and greeted the unidentified Asian woman to whom he had asked pardon following his impatient reaction with her, when she tugged his arm and refused quickly to let go, on New Year’s Eve.

The episode had happened following the Vigil Mass, when he left the Vatican Basilica and was greeting the faithful in St. Peter’s Square.

This moment of amends was taped on January 8, 2020, in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, in Vatican Media photographs, and confirmed to Italy’s principal news agency, ANSA.

While ANSA has written that during the encounter Francis asked pardon for what had happened, the Holy See Press Office has not confirmed the encounter or what transpired during it.

This was the first weekly audience since the episode, given there was no General Audience on January 1st, due to the Feast Day.

Pope Francis had 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. He did so on 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.

This time, 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.»

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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, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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