On Wednesday, January 1, Pope Francis issued an apology.
The pontiff's mea culpa was for the way he acted on New Year's Eve, slapping a woman's hand to make her let go of his arm.
In a clip of the incident, which has gone viral, a woman grabs the Pope's arm as he's greeting pilgrims in St. Peters Square. She seems to pull him towards her and he tries to yank his arm away.
When she won't let go, he slaps her hand several times before walking away with a scowl.
Indignant Pope Francis slaps woman's hand to free himself at New Year's Eve gathering youtu.be
The next day, the Pope issued an apology, saying he had set a "bad example."
He also spoke at length about the role women should play in the world.
"So many times we lose patience, even me, and I apologize for yesterday's bad example...All violence inflicted on women is a desecration of God..."
"How often is a woman's body sacrificed on the profane altar of advertising, profit, pornography...[The female body] must be freed from consumerism; it must be respected and honored..."
"We can understand our level of humanity by the way we treat a woman's body..."
The Pope also connected women to immigration, saying:
"Today, even motherhood is humiliated because the only growth that interests us is economic growth."
"There are mothers who risk perilous journeys to desperately try to give the fruit of the womb a better future and are judged to be redundant by people whose bellies are full of things but whose hearts are empty of love."
"I apologize for yesterday's bad example." Pope Francis said he's sorry for slapping the hand of a woman who had y… https://t.co/6XS5FrbKTS— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake by Bloomberg)1577980096.0
The Pope concluded by saying that women "must be fully involved in the decision making process."
Online, many people felt the Pope's apology was understandable and satisfactory.
No one is perfect. Apology, forgiveness, and redemption are even better. https://t.co/vjJXms5NhK— Barb McQuade (@Barb McQuade)1577976380.0
When I heard Pope slapped a woman, I was a bit worried. I knew something was wrong. This is a video of what trans… https://t.co/tftUfOPjCC— Araba Anyụ anyụ 1 na Ouagadougou (@Araba Anyụ anyụ 1 na Ouagadougou)1577978411.0
I’m not a big fan of this pope ... ... but the lady kept grabbing his arm even after he tried to pull it back I… https://t.co/tNv5cjgSHM— Villi Wilson❌ (@Villi Wilson❌)1577973779.0
Others, however, thought the Pope's actions called for something more substantial.
Sigh. Tubridy on this morning saying it’s totally reasonable that the pope slapped that woman as “sometimes the pop… https://t.co/EzkLab66Xy— Dr Jennifer Schweppe (@Dr Jennifer Schweppe)1577956187.0
Wow, you'd think this lady abused young boys the way the pope gave her a slap on the wrist https://t.co/cfC6AC0bOo— Comfortably Smug (@Comfortably Smug)1577972737.0
Meanwhile, the internet was united behind countless jokes regarding the slap.
This is a big moment for Catholics because as everyone knows all of the pope's actions are infallible according to… https://t.co/eBgPLiPQjP— Matt Walsh (@Matt Walsh)1577981410.0
Good morning humans. Today is the second day of the decade. The world’s on fire and the pope slaps now.— God (@God)1577978105.0
Of course it's not the first time the Pope has rejected a hand advance. https://t.co/hI1wlx0cpM— cluedont (@cluedont)1577970114.0
If you went to Catholic school as a kid, you have zero surprise the pope slapped someone.— Ernest Thinking (@Ernest Thinking)1577973724.0
So is the moral of the story "always be careful around the Pope"?
You never know when he's going to lash out with a good firm slap.