Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Photo from Wikipedia

What was the Accusation?

On the evening of December 31, 2019, Pope Francis was walking toward the Nativity Scene at the Vatican.  The Pope was greeting worshipers lined up behind barricades along his path. As he stopped to acknowledge and reach out to a child, a woman grabbed the pontiff’s hand and pulled it toward her. Pope Francis reacted by slapping her hand to free it and walked away.  A video of this encounter went viral on social media showing Pope Francis slapping the woman’s hand and then angrily walking away. The following day while delivering his annual New Year’s address in St. Peter’s Square, which ironically happened to be on problems associated with violence, Pope Francis deviated from his scripted remarks to apologize for losing his patience and for his “bad example” the night before.

Key Apologia Strategies:

Mortification, Defeasibility



“The patience of love. Love makes us patient and many times we lose our patience. Me, too. I also want to apologize for the bad example of yesterday.”


Balmer, C. (2020, January 1). Pope apologies for ‘bad example’ of slapping arm of pilgrim who tugged him. Retrieved from Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-peace/pope-apologizes-for-bad-example-of-slapping-arm-of-pilgrim-who-tugged-him-idUSKBN1Z01O7

Bates, J. (2020, January 1). Pope Francis Regrets ‘Bad Example’ He Set After Angrily Slapping Away Hand of Female Worshipper. Retrieved from time: https://time.com/5757467/pope-francis-apologizes-slapping-hand-woman/

Borghese, L., & McKenzie, S. (2020, January 1). Pope Francis apologizes for slapping woman’s hand on New Year’s Eve. Retrieved from CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/01/europe/pope-francis-slap-woman-apology-intl/index.html