Pope apologizes for slapping pilgrim woman, calls violence against women ′blasphemy′ | News | DW | 01.01.2020
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Pope apologizes for slapping pilgrim woman, calls violence against women 'blasphemy'

Pope Francis described violence against women as "a blasphemy against God." A day earlier, the frustrated pontiff slapped the hand of a woman who yanked him towards her.

Pope Francis issued a rare public apology on Wednesday for slapping the hand of a pilgrim who grabbed his hand and yanked him towards her.

The apology came as the pontiff used his New Year's Day homily to condemn violence against women and consumerism based on their bodies.

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Pope Francis, 83, confessed to losing his patience when he hit the hand of a pilgrim when she unexpectedly seized his hand and pulled him towards her during a walkabout in St. Peters Square on Tuesday.

"So many times we lose patience, even me, and I apologize for yesterday's bad example," the Pope told thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Francis went on to describe violence against women as "a blasphemy against God."

Despite being the source of life, women "are continually insulted, beaten, raped, forced to prostitute themselves and to suppress the life they bear in the womb."

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"Every form of violence inflicted upon a woman is a blasphemy against God, who was born of a woman. Humanity's salvation came forth from the body of a woman: We can understand our degree of humanity by how we treat a woman's body."

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Consumerism exploits

During his homily, he touched on another theme that he has previously criticized, rampant consumerism.

Read morePope Francis condemns 'virus' of Christmas consumerism

Women's bodies are sacrificed on "the profane altars of advertising, of profiteering, of pornography, exploited like a canvas to be used."

Women must be liberated from consumerism, the Pope said. "They must be respected and honored. Theirs is the most noble flesh in the world."

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Migrant mothers 

He went on to address the issue of women and immigration, criticizing those who turn away young mothers fleeing poverty and war. 

"Today even motherhood is humiliated because the only growth that interests us is economic growth," he said.

Read morePope Francis: Viewing migrants as threat to society is 'senseless'

"There are mothers, who risk perilous journeys to desperately try to give the fruit of the womb a better future and are judged to be redundant by people whose bellies are full of things, but whose hearts are empty of love."

cw/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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