Pope Francis has apologized for swatting away the hand of a woman who tugged his arm as the head of the Roman Catholic Church greeted pilgrims in St. Peter's Square on New Year's Eve.
In video of the incident, Francis walks down a line of admirers separated by fencing, clasping their hands, waving and smiling with the basilica and the Vatican obelisk in the background.
Just as the pope appears to turn to walk away from the crowd, a woman reaches out, grabs his hand and then jerks him forcefully toward her.
In his new year's wishes to the public in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, Francis confessed to losing his patience with the woman.
In his impromptu remarks Wednesday, Francis said “so many times we lose patience. Me, too." He then added, “I say ‘excuse me’ for the bad example."