Pope Francis has apologized after slapping a woman’s hand as he greeted pilgrims at the Vatican on New Year’s Eve. Francis lost his cool when the woman abruptly grabbed his hand and yanked him towards her just after he reached out to greet a child during a visit to the Vatican’s nativity scene on Tuesday night. The identity of the woman is unknown, but a video of the incident went viral.
Pope Francis offered a Christmas message of hope Wednesday against darkness that cloaks conflicts and relationships in large parts of the world from the Middle East to the Americas to Africa. The traditional “Urbi et Orbi’’ (“to the city and to the world’’) Christmas message has become an occasion for popes to address suffering in the world and press for solutions.
Pope Francis appealed to conservatives on Sunday not to be bound by the status quo as he opened an assembly of bishops to discuss the future of the Roman Catholic Church in the Amazon. One of the most contentious topics of the synod, whose some 260 participants are mostly bishops from the Amazon, is whether to allow older married “proven men” with families and a strong standing in local communities to be ordained as priests in the Amazon.
Delivering his Christmas Day address to tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis appealed for fraternity and peace, especially in violent conflicts around the world. In his “Urbi et Orbi” (“To the City and to the World”) address, Francis urged the embrace of fraternity in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the wars in Syria and Yemen, the “clash of arms” in Africa and the conflicts in Korea and Ukraine.
Pope Francis on Sunday became the first pontiff to set foot on the Arabian Peninsula, just hours after issuing his strongest condemnation yet of the war in Yemen, where his host the United Arab Emirates has a leading military role. Shortly before departing for Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis said he was following the humanitarian crisis in Yemen with great concern, using his regular Sunday address in Vatican City to urge all sides to implement a fragile peace deal and help deliver aid to millions of hungry people.
VATICAN CITY Pope Francis welcomed President Trump to the cradle of Roman Catholicism on Wednesday, delivering a message of peace even as the pontiff emphasized his role as the world’s moral counterpoint to the president’s nationalist agenda. Trump later met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, who raised the issue of climate change and encouraged the president to maintain the U.S. participation in the Paris climate accords, a decision the administration is debating. Trump gifted Francis a first-edition set of Kings five books, which were custom-bound and accented with gold hand-tooling. Francis cited King’s march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., in his 2015 address to a joint session of Congress.