The incident that appeared to disturb Pope Francis so much was caught on video that quickly went viral on social media, showing the Pontiff walking calmly along a crowd of pilgrims and greeting people in St Peter's Square following the 'Te Deum' prayer.
Suddenly a woman insistently grabs the pope's arm and pulls him to her side in a strikingly aggressive way. Pope Francis is seen with a noticeable trace of discomfort on his face.
This evening after visiting the Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis loses his cool after being grabbed by a pilgrim who wouldn't let go of his hand. The Pope repeated slapped her hand and told her to let go of him. pic.twitter.com/6Qrgh8aZKz— Catholic Sat (@CatholicSat) December 31, 2019
The unidentified woman made the sign of the cross as the pope approached her. The quality of the video does not verify what she said during the encounter. Pope Francis quickly pulled himself free from the seemingly aggressive clutch of the parishioner.
According to media reports, the incident briefly upset the crowd, although Pope Francis' stroll delighted tourists and pilgrims.
It remains unclear what happened to the "overzealous" woman afterward.