Pope Francis has apologised after he slapped the hand of a woman who grabbed him outside the Vatican on New Year’s Eve.
The pontiff was saluting the huge crowd and put his hand out to shake with several members of the audience.
However, as he moved to walk away one woman kept a firm grip of his hand and prevented him from leaving.
In an instinctive reaction, Pope Francis used his other hand to slap the woman’s hand causing her to free his arm.
Although the incident was not too severe, it did attract the attention of much of the world’s press as the head of the Catholic Church used force to remove himself from the situation.
However, in his New Year’s Day address to the public Pope Francis apologised for his actions and denounced violence against women.
Speaking to the crowd at St Peter’s Square, he said: “We lose patience many times. It happens to me too. I apologise for the bad example given yesterday.”
Pope Francis later added: “Every form of violence inflicted upon a woman is a blasphemy against God, who was born of a woman.”
Here is a video clip of the incident posted to Twitter by the Guardian.