Disgruntled Pope Francis pulls himself free from woman's grasp
Pope Francis was walking through the square in Vatican City and greeting pilgrims on his way to see the large Nativity scene set up in the huge, cobbled esplanade.
After reaching out to touch a child, the pope turned away from the crowd only for a nearby woman to seize his hand and pull her toward him. The abrupt gesture appeared to cause him pain and Francis swiftly wrenched his hand free.
The woman had made the sign of the cross as the pope had approached. It was not clear what she was saying as she subsequently tugged him toward her.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis, in his first message of the new year, denounced the use and abuse of women in modern society, and called for an end to the exploitation of the female body.
Speaking in a packed St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope also defended women’s rights to migrate in search of a better future for their children and condemned those who only thought about economic growth rather than the well-being of others.
“All violence inflicted on women is a desecration of God,” the pope said in his homily.
“How often is a woman’s body sacrificed on the profane altar of advertising, profit, pornography, exploited as a surface to be used,” he said, adding that the female body “must be freed from consumerism, it must be respected and honored.”
The pope has regularly sought to defend women’s rights during his pontificate and in April told the Roman Catholic Church it had to acknowledge a history of male domination and sexual abuse of women.
“We can understand our level of humanity by the way we treat a woman’s body,” he said.