While visiting St. Peter’s Square on New Year’s Eve, Pope Francis got annoyed at a woman who grabbed his hand and wouldn’t let go.
One thing we have learnt about Pope Francis is that he really doesn’t like people kissing his ring. And we have been reminded of this pet hate once again, after he was seen becoming visibly indignant when a worshipper grabbed his hand and yanked it towards her.
The Sovereign of the Vatican City state is seen peeling himself away from a woman before lightly slapping her hand in the crowd in St Peter’s Square on Tuesday. Video footage captures the moment the pope walks through the Vatican City happily greeting pilgrims while en route to see a Nativity set up in the huge, cobbled esplanade.
He reaches out to greet a child, before turning away from the crowd but a woman takes her once in a lifetime opportunity to grab his hand and pull it back. It is unclear whether her intention was to peck his papal ring – a sacred symbol of the Pope’s union to the church – but whatever it was, he definitely didn’t like it.
But the abrupt gesture appeared to cause him some pain, or at least discomfort, and Francis quickly wrenched his hand free. The woman had made the sign of the cross as the pope approached but it was not clear what she was saying as she subsequently tugged him toward her.
This is not the first time pontiff has expressed his extreme dislike for worshippers gripping his hand. In March, he was caught on video repeatedly pulling his hand away from members of the public after mass at the Basilica della Santa Casa – a shrine of Marian pilgrimage in the hill town of Loreto.
In the footage, he is seen smiling politely as he greets each person and shakes their hand, before snatching his own away as they bow to kiss the ring.
But no one seems to get the memo, as one after another they line up to try and kiss it. One woman even kneels down to carry out the act, before he momentarily looks alarmed and quickly ushers her to one side.
He offers a smile to each, as some appear a little deflated after their act of respect is rejected. A word of advice if you ever get the chance to meet Francis – do not grab his hand and don’t go near his ring.