A video has been circulating online of Pope Francis slapping a woman’s hand, looking visibly annoyed. The video, shared thousands of times over different social media platforms, is getting negative comments from members of the online community.
Some netizens were commenting on how the woman shouldn’t have suddenly grabbed Pope Francis—given the fact that the latter is already 83 years old and violently pulling his arm could make him trip or fall. On the other hand, Pope Francis is also being criticized for slapping the woman’s hand and walking away with an annoyed reaction on his face.
The Pope has already apologized for the incident during his New Year Mass at the Vatican, saying that he lost patience—just like any normal person would. He then emphasized that he condemns violence against women, as it is a “profanation of God, born of a woman.”
No matter whose fault it was, or who was more at fault, there a few courtesies that need to be followed when engaging with an elderly like Pope Francis. My Pope rounds up some guidelines when meeting the Santo Papa.
Fall in line properly
During Papal visits and encounters, huge crowds gather just to catch a glimpse of the Pope. And with large crowds comes the threat to everyone’s safety, as rushing to see Lolo Kiko could lead to stampedes. So it’s best to prevent this by queueing properly—everyone will get a chance to see the Holy Father!
Gently hold and kiss his hand
It is tradition to kiss the hand of any member of the clergy when we see one. The same goes for the Pope—one is encouraged to kiss his hand as a sign of paying respects. But remember to hold his hand gently and don’t just grab; wait for the Pope to offer his hand. However, it is a big no-no for Pope Francis to kiss his ring, as he puts everyone’s safety first and wants to avoid the spread of bacteria and illnesses.
Avoid pulling on the Pope’s clothes
Admittedly, one feels a certain emotion when they get to catch a glimpse of the Holy Father, let alone get to touch his hand. However, we should be extra careful when approaching the Pope—as we might unintentionally pull on his cassock, robe, or chasuble, and might make him fall. It’s best to just gently touch the Pope’s clothes if you couldn’t get ahold of his hand.