The 83-year-old leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, Pope Francis, while strolling through the St Peter's Square in Vatican City, was greeting pilgrims, after he had just led a prayer service to give thanks for the previous year.
An altercation occurred, when Pope was visiting the Nativity scene, amid chants of "Pope! Pope!" and "Happy New Year!". As soon as he turned away after greeting the pilgrims, a woman grabbed his arms and pulled him towards her, refusing to let him go.
Woman pulled the Pope
The sudden act appears to have caused him some pain, who stumbled a little bit when being pulled by the woman. The visibly shocked pontiff, then angrily shouted at her, slapped the woman's hands and wrenched his hands free. He then walks away, looking disgruntled.
The woman made a cross sign, while the Pope walked towards her. It's not clear what she was saying to the Pope before the altercation happened. Some were quick in criticizing the pontiff. Some called him a "horrible man", while some called him "fake".
Some referred to the altercation as an "absolutely bad optics". While others extended their support to the Pope's actions.
A Twitter user said, "Maybe 2020 is the right time to realize that Pope Francis, like any other pope, is just a regular human like the rest of us".
A user exclaimed that it's sad that the Pope never went viral for his kinder gestures. Some responded with amusement that "Apparently Pope Francis never met an Asian mom before". "Pope Francis worked as a bar bouncer in Buenos Aires", which he apparently did for a year.
Pope worked as a nightclub bouncer
In 2013, the year of his coronation, the leader of the Catholic church told parishioners that before embracing priesthood, he did a couple of odd jobs, including working as a nightclub bouncer, which more than anything showcases his humble beginning.