Thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square, in Vatican City, on Jan. 1, 2020, to listen to Pope Francis' New Years Day address. Photo by Angelo Carconi / EPA-EFE
Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Pope Francis entered 2020 apologizing for a lack of patience and a slapped hand.
While greeting well-wishers on New Year's Eve on his way to visit Vatican City's nativity scene, a woman grabbed the Pope's hand and pulled him back towards the crowd lined against the barricades. Video showed Pope Francis slapping the woman's hand to free himself. In the footage, the Pope appeared upset by the interaction.
Hours later, just before issuing his New Years Day address, Pope Francis apologized for his actions, saying even he loses his patience sometimes.
"I apologize for the poor example yesterday," he said.
The Pope used his Wednesday morning address to condemn violence of all kinds against women.
"By how we treat a woman's body, we can understand our level of humanity," Pope Francis said.
Speaking to a crowd of worshipers that had made the pilgrimage to St. Peter's Square, the Pope called for gender equality.
"[Women] should be fully included in decision-making processes," he said. "Every step forward for women, is a step forward for humanity as a whole."
The theme of his address echoed a series of tweets issued early Wednesday.
"Let us begin the year in the sign of Our Lady, the woman who wove the humanity of God," Pope Francis wrote on Twitter. "The rebirth of humanity began with woman. If we want to weave humanity into the webs of our day, we must begin again with woman."