Distraught woman grabs Francis’ hand and pleads. What did she say? – UPDATED

UPDATE 3 Jan 2020:

What’s this all about?

Is there a pattern here?

UPDATE 1 Jan 2020:

Meanwhile, as the mainstream media has picked this up, in the irritating Crux mail today, I saw this:

UPDATE 1 Jan 2020:

I still want to know what she said.  I’ve gotten confirmations that she is not speaking Mandarin or Cantonese, nor Japanese or, seemingly, another common related language.

Originally Published on: Dec 31, 2019

Being a public figure has drawbacks. Being a hugely visible and sought after public figure has lot’s of drawback, including getting grabbed when you really don’t want to be grabbed.

This woman is clearly distraught. She sounds desperate.  I am reminded of the wretched woman who touched the hem of the Lord’s cloak.  On the other hand…

On Twitter we find…

One of my correspondents remarked: “If he had been on the sedia gestatoria this would not have happened.”

I can’t make out what she is saying.

Can you? Seriously. Don’t just guess.

Here is an audio file, which has full speed, then slower, then slower still.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. dd113 says:

    He may have been suprised and maybe even hurt, but a man should never strike a woman.

  2. majuscule says:

    I can’t help with the audio, but she does sound desperate.

    It looks like the people on either side of her have their cell phones out so there may be more video somewhere.

  3. FrDulli says:

    I don’t care what she said. She yanked the Pope pretty hard. His response seems reasonable to me.

  4. byzantinesteve says:

    I don’t think he was wrong to react the way he did. But can you imagine the media uproar if Benedict had done the same thing? He’d be portrayed as a total monster misogynist abuser who hits women.

  5. scoot says:

    I can’t help but think there’s a better way to handle the situation. I looked at the twitter feed to see peoples comments on it. I’m sympathetic, sure, that he’s an elderly man and was pulled unexpectedly. It’s really hard to say it’s unreasonable–“I would’ve done the same thing!” or “My grandpappy is an old man if this happened to him he’d have decked the poor woman!”–because it’s very human to be annoyed by this kind of thing. But at the same time, I can’t help but imagine JP2 (for example, pick-your-favorite-pope-here) reacting differently.

    I think this is causing a stir for two reasons: 1) we expect more from our Pontificate; 2) “Character is what you do when no one is watching” and it feels like we learned about his character in this, and were surprised.

  6. FrDulli says:

    If this happened to me today I would have been patient and taken time to extract myself gently but firmly.

    If I was the Holy Father and this happened to me, I might do something more forceful like we see here. An unexpected tug like this could be part of something bigger. Who knows? Even an attempt on his life? He needs to be careful.

    I don’t agree with a lot of things that Pope Francis does, but it strikes me as really opportunistic for people to try to shame the Pope over this. He has the absolute need to feel safe and in control of every interaction. Or else why have a supreme pontiff?

    The only one who should be ashamed by anything here is the lady whose contact with the Pope borders on assault. We used to have excommunications for this kind of thing.

  7. Charles E Flynn says:

    Given the way he was suddenly pulled around, the pope could easily have injured an ankle.

  8. Juan Carfuneral says:

    Does this mean women’s ordination is finally off the table?

  9. dd113 says:

    With all due respect, “Borders on assault?” No. The woman devoutly crossed herself as she awaited the Pope. As he turned away and it appeared that he might miss her, she grabbed his hand. Overenthusiastic? Probably. Assault? Definitely not. Another view: https://metro.co.uk/video/disgruntled-pope-slaps-away-woman-grabbed-him-2078854/

  10. Bthompson says:

    “Answer the Dubia,” perhaps? (Just kidding)

  11. majuscule says:

    Here is a little more context. I found the video it it taken from. This link should be cued up 15 or 20 seconds before the short one above. He has been walking along greeting people. He comes to a large group with several children. The woman can be seen beside them making the sign of the cross before she desperately grabs his hand as he turns away. At least that’s my take—view for yourselves.


  12. WVC says:

    It’s not the yanking of his hand back that’s the issue – it’s the look on Pope Francis’s face afterwards. That look says a lot. I think Fr. Z should screen shot it and put it on a mug!

    [I guess that would be a kind of mug shot mug. No thanks.]

  13. Lurker 59 says:

    Points of Note:

    1. Audio is clear enough that, baring someone being able to translate, that language dictation software would work, once the background noise is dropped, especially if the language of the woman can be reasonably guessed at and selected in the software beforehand.

    2. Watch the video frame by frame. There are some really interesting details that you can pick up watching the body language of all involved. Watch body language, facial expressions, movement.

    3. I would like to see the clip to include 10 seconds prior.

    4. The woman doesn’t have any real sort of strong grip on the Holy Father and it is not really yanking movement but a guiding movement, and does she not maintain holding on. The whole movement is a movement of panicked desperation.

    Not knowing the audio, let me speak very generally. Anyone who glad-hands/presses the flesh with quickly encounter such situations of people reaching out, grabbing on, holding too long, pulling you back, saying this or that. There is nothing particularly interesting or dangerous and is just people being people and it is why you have handlers to help people keep hands to themselves. As a public person, if people are grabby, you have to just move on as if nothing happened.

    Now, I have a bad right shoulder and that type of grabbing, though not something I would say is forceful, is going to hurt quite a bit, I am a “don’t touch me” type of person, and though I am not a public person, I have had people get my attention akin this before. Though there was a quick, “you’d better let go of me” it never would cross my mind to turn my back and ignore such a person who has something to say. But that is just me and others who are like me. The Holy Father is himself and will react as he will, and there is no real issue in that, other than curiosity at what the woman said.

  14. FrDulli says:

    Distraught? Maybe? But upon examination, does anyone else detect the ravening stare of mental illness?

  15. Semper Gumby says:

    FrDulli wrote: “He has the absolute need to feel safe and in control of every interaction. Or else why have a supreme pontiff?”

    There are several problems with that.

    “Distraught? Maybe? But upon examination, does anyone else detect the ravening stare of mental illness?”

    The subject of that comment can be Francis or the woman. The final question might be straying into hysterics.

  16. majuscule says:

    Lurker 59–

    See my post with the link above. It’s to the full 1 hour 45 minutes plus video but it should be cued up to start at 1:45:20 or a little before the video clip begins.

  17. acardnal says:

    Women! They always want to hold hands at the wrong time.

  18. Fr. Timothy Ferguson says:

    In other situations I’ve seen this and previous popes in there is someone – either a guard or a priest who intervenes at some point and steps between the pope and the crowd, pulling him away. That gives the double benefit of protecting the Holy Father from “tugs” like this and also gives the pope the cover of, “Gosh, I really wanted to continue shaking hands, but these guards (or this monsignor) is telling me that it’s time to go…”

    I don’t know if there was a reason why that protocol wasn’t followed in this case, or if it’s just one of those slip-through-the-crack moments.

  19. acardnal says:

    Fr Timothy, Look at the video. A security officer DID intervene. . . be he was a little late though.

  20. Many people are are reacting to Francis’ reaction.

    I posted this because I would really like to know what she said.

    What did she say? Can anyone make it out?

  21. Amerikaner says:

    It actually made me think of some of the old soviet poisoning tactics. A scratch administers the poison and the action is hidden under the greater action.

  22. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Something about authority. I think it is about Hong Kong or the China thing; she sounds Chinese. I will listen to the slow version.

  23. dd113 says:

    A Chinese friend of mine said it is neither Mandarine nor Cantonese.

  24. Leonius says:

    I expect more composure and self control from a leader than I expect from a normal person. Any leader.

    The “I would have done the same” defence is no defence at all.

    Soccer players such as Ronaldo put up with much worse than this from their fans and manage to react in a much more Christian way than the Pope did.

    Security did not intervene because she was clearly not a threat, the Pope was voluntarily shaking hands with people at this time and he reacted himself almost instantly with a complete loss of self control.

    Pope Francis has consistently displayed a lack of fundamental qualities needed to be an effective leader of which this is but the latest.

  25. I’m not fond of the current pontificate, but I can’t find it in my heart to criticize Pope Francis for this. I hate to be grabbed too, and I hate it when strangers take liberties with my personal space.

  26. Kathleen10 says:

    I’m totally curious about this because she may be Chinese.
    This may have hurt him, it kind of jerked his arm around. At that moment he just looked like a cranky old man.

    Fr. Z., I just read you are sick and in the hospital due to some fluid buildup after a respiratory infection. Please take good care of yourself and prayers will go up for you, by many I’m sure.
    God be with you.

    [Sheesh! I didn’t know I was sick! I hope I get better. I have the 7:30 AM Mass.]

  27. Gab says:

    Although the Pope looks startled and a tad angry, which can be a normal reaction for some, I do wonder how Pope JP II would have reacted.

  28. Disc-Thrower says:

    I’ve listened to it quite a few times. It is not mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, teochew, Japanese, Korean, or Thai. Source: I am Asian from a very multiethnic city.

    Wondering if she might be speaking in heavily accented foreign language? Spanish or Italian?

  29. Sue in soCal says:

    I did a search to see if any news source had translated what she said but had no success. Research I did online on programs identifying language and translating audio files indicates that the software isn’t available publicly yet. If you don’t have a friend at the NSA, have you considered posting the audio file on Facebook? Maybe a wider audience can help identify and translate what the woman said. I’ll reach out to people I know and see if any of them can help.

  30. Lurker 59 says:

    After spending time reading through comment sections and discussions in various places below is the comment that I could find that had the highest credibility for the individual making a claim. I will say that I don’t hear it (having listened to a better audio source multiple times), but broken English with an Asian accent is difficult for me to understand. I have seen a few other details from others that support Bree’s tweet, including in a subtweet to what she said.

    From Bree A Dail

    It seems the woman in this video is speaking English with a very heavy accent. She says, clearly, “Happy for this day”, and then, as @Pontifex is removing her grasp, she mentions #HongKong. I suppose we will not know her message, unless someone tracks her down. #CatholicTwitter

  31. Gab says:

    The Pope has apologised for his reaction. God bless him!


  32. Benedict Joseph says:

    If proper protocol and common sense were operative this would not have happened and no one would be “choked up.” Unfortunately we all have plenty of reason to be choked up for the last six years.

  33. APX says:

    Does anyone know Korean?

  34. KateD says:

    What is the green flash within the first second of the video? I didn’t notice it when the clip was first posted, but it’s hard to miss now.

    Regarding the audio, could it be what Disc-Thrower suggests? Perhaps a native speaker of Korean or a Chinese dialect speaking heavily accented tourist Italian?

    I’m sure they are both a little chagrined. It would be nice if Pope Francis were able to find this woman and the two could hug it out. Both parties would feel better about everything overall.

  35. Danteewoo says:

    Slapping that lady was about the least offensive thing that Francis did in 2019.

  36. I looked at video and looked listened to audio. From her looks and mannerisms she seems Japanese. One of the words I think I can make out is ninj which might be ningen which is the Japanese word for people. However she then makes several sounds the do not exist in Japanese and the very distinct tonal pattern of Chinese is there. My bet is on Chinese. Maybe she tried to start in Italian but when she got too excited she went back to her native language. If not Mandarin or Cantonese how about shanghainese or Okinawan? The language definitely had tones.

    Also I noticed she looked at the camera before starting.

    I saw online one person saying that what she was something like “they are killing people”. They then referenced part of Francis’s speech from earlier where he said something like “we have to be there for one another, give of our time, and listen to their cries for help”.

  37. Tara Tremuit says:

    Over at Barnhardt, she hears from people that it might indeed be Japanese.

    ” …. “Hai… gommenesai…” which would translate in this context as, “Yes, excuse me….”
    Bergoglio in Spanish says: ““Mano! Mano! Bruja!” Which would translate as, “Hand! Hand! B***/Witch/Hag!”” …”

    When I listen I can hear “Hai gommenesai” and “Mano” but nothing else.

  38. Ttony says:

    I think I hear the following:

    20″: “Francis,” (sound cuts out momentarily) “Francis, you’re my saint.”
    26″: “Francis, sorry, Pope Francis – Pope Francis save me” (possibly “please”)
    33″: (1/2 words missed) ” in the rain” (I don’t believe “Flowers in the rain” is what she said at all!)

    My guess would be accented English spoken by somebody whose first language is south-east Asian.

  39. Kathleen10 says:

    Good now you can go lay down! Tell them I said so. lol. I don’t get it, I just read it. Now where…
    So grateful you are okay. I’m sorry if I worried anyone.

  40. Leonius says:

    “We lose patience many times, it happens to me too. I apologise for the bad example given yesterday,”

    In his first Mass of the New Year, the pontiff later denounced “all violence against women” as “a profanation of God, born of a woman.”

    Note how he did something bad and then transfers it to everyone else first with the way he frames it with “We lose patience” and then tries to establish himself as a champion for women against all the other bad men.

    He has not owned his actions, this is all about him protecting his ego and image.

    Again not fit to lead. A leader must control his ego, not be controlled by it.

  41. LarryW2LJ says:

    Have to vent my spleen on this one. I can understand the Holy Father’s lack of patience – that is the virtue I have the most trouble with. While I understand it, I do not condone his behavior. Yes, the woman appears to have been over exuberant and should not have been so grabby – she’s not 100% in the right in this incident. At the same time, my parents raised me that you never, ever strike a woman. Ever. Period.

    Do I expect any pope to be Christ? No. I do expect the pope to represent Him and to act like Christ, though. Jesus didn’t retaliate against those who beat, spit and tortured him. He kept silent. The Holy Father should have just snatched his hand back and walked away.

  42. Tara Tremuit says:

    But after reading Bree A Dail, I now think I hear “Happy for this day!” Funny that.
    And one more thing, apologizing for “bad example” strikes me as bad example. If you hit and swear at an annoying person, you wouldn’t say “sometimes we lose patience” and apologize for “bad example” until you apologized for the actual sins, right? As in “I’m sorry I hit you and swore at you (and whatever else, lack of mercy/meekness/charity, loss of temper/patience, pride, love of self …) And I’m sorry that it gave bad example as well.” It could have been a catechesis on how to confess! Instead, it sounds like “Sorry I got caught on camera.” Anyone would feel sorry if the whole world saw it. It’s a good reminder, going into a New Year, that all of our sins will be shouted from the rooftop on the last day.

  43. Tara Tremuit says:

    Re: Leonius – You said it best. It’s the transferral of personal guilt to the collective that is so oily.

  44. Mariana2 says:

    “Francis, come to my side…”?

  45. carndt says:

    My friend from Thailand says she looks VERY Thai.

  46. Semper Gumby says:

    Perhaps Francis could meet with this woman and apologize to her personally. That would provide an opportunity to hear what she has to say. Francis has met with many interesting people from all walks of life during his Pontificate, surely a meeting could be arranged.

    [You can bet your bottom Renminbi that she is being sought, precisely for that purpose. That’s about this only way they can think of to get this behind them. I don’t think it will work.]

  47. ex seaxe says:

    Looking again at the clip, I see the Pope is grabbed by the hand from behind and yanked round off balance. In English law this amounts to the criminal offence of Common Assault, a few years ago someone was successfully prosecuted for grabbing a firefighter by the shoulder to get him to redirect his firehose.

  48. gaudete says:

    Occam’s razor – Could it be that she simply says (in English with a strong Asian accent): Happy New Year’s Day, Pope Francis, please, Happy New Year’s Day? Wouldn’t be too uncommon on a Silvester eve, would it.

  49. Pingback: VVEDNESDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  50. Ad Orientem says:

    A few quick thoughts. Francis may have been a trifle sharp in his reaction, but the lady was also out of line. It is extremely bad manners to grab others without their consent, and in this case she appeared to yank him towards her. Francis may have been in some pain from this. He is not a young man. In another age of course it would have been unthinkable for anyone to physically touch the Pope without a clear invitation. Which brings me to his security. It looks like they were extremely lax here. If the woman had meant to harm H.H., she might easily have done so.

  51. Ultrarunner says:

    My analysis of the audio file produced a very eerie result.

    Backtracking the audio (playing it backwards) finds two clearly worded and complete sentences utterred by the woman.

    The first sentence contains four words spoken in English:

    “Heir of the Son.”

    It is a quick, very clear salute.

    Eerily, an unknown male and female voice immediately reply separately with a, “Yes.” “Yes.”

    The German word for blood, “blut” is heard in the woman’s largely unintellible second sentence.

    The woman’s third and last complete sentence is composed of three words and are spoken in clear, concise German:

    “Mehr sonne bitte.”

    In English this means, “More sun, please.”

    The resulting partial translation of the woman’s backtracked voice in English is therefore:

    Heir of the Son.
    Yes. Yes. (male/female voices)
    More sun, please.

    The backtracking conversion tool is here:


    Anyone can upload Father Z’s audio file to the site and it will create the backtracked audio file which can then be download and played.

    [That was pretty strange.]

  52. Semper Gumby says:

    ex seaxe and Ad Orientem: Francis wasn’t fighting a fire, he was doing a grip-and-grin. Cheers.

  53. revueltos67 says:

    Until someone figures out what language she’s speaking it’s anyone’s guess.

    In light of that I contacted the experts at Bad Lip Reading. They claim she’s saying:

    Happy for this day.
    Lousy foreign holiday.
    Court martial Thursday — BE THERE!
    Don’t be late.

  54. Father G says:

    During his visit to Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico in February 2016, His Holiness reacted similiarly after being yanked by the hand by someone in the crowd, causing him to fall into a disabled man who was sitting in front.
    He reacted by saying, “No seas egoista. (Don’t be selfish)”.
    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLutB9-YVPU

  55. THREEHEARTS says:

    mike hurcum asks…no lip readers around she is chinese asian speaks english with heavy accent probably asking why did he surrender her relatives to communists???

  56. THREEHEARTS says:

    lost a line from my comment above. It is often said or written this
    pope flies of the handle when anyone questions his decisions. If they find her before the press. We are not likely to get the truth.

  57. oledocfarmer says:

    I assumed she just wanted to pray the OF with him. And that’s why his reaction make-a no sense….I’d think he’d love to do that.

  58. Barnacle says:

    The lady makes the sign of the cross as the Pope approaches. She looks very tense, worried. She looks like she has something important to tell or ask the Pope, and she is hoping she will get the chance. She reaches out as he simultaneously turns away, just managing to catch his hand. She sounds desperate and pleads with him. She repeats the same phrase three times, each time more insistent. It is most likely an attempt in English, as that is the go-to language across the board. She would surely not attempt a language that the Pope can’t understand. If it is English, it is with a heavy accent. I can’t make it out. Poor lady. What a horrible outcome. I hope they find her.
    The Pope’s language is shocking, I have to say. His reaction reminds me of the story of a Buddhist, who sat for hours in deep meditation, only to suddenly lose his temper over some trifle, thus completely spoiling his chance of impressing others with his wonderful self-control.

  59. Semper Gumby says:

    Father G: Interesting. Perhaps Francis should not have put himself in that position. The crowd was excited, and standing directly in front of a seated man can be considered unwise. Selfishness and egoism can be a two-way street.

    Threehearts: Perhaps the verbal component of the encounter with the woman explains part, or maybe even most, of Francis’ overreaction.

  60. bigtex says:

    Bergoglio is such a covert narcissist, but he got caught here in front of millions so he tries to apologize. Catholics still trying to make excuses for him, just don’t understand this mental disorder.

  61. Shonkin says:

    The Pope was shaking hands with a large number of persons just before he saw this woman and tried to avoid her. There is a backstory to this, which we don’t know. (“Keep this woman away from me?”)
    By the way, her speech didn’t sound like Tagalog or Tagalog-accented English or Spanish either.

  62. Mornac2 says:

    I’m afraid the man’s words don’t rise to the level of an apology. First of all he chastises all of us for losing patience, after which he grudgingly adds himself to that group (as if anyone should actually hold him above it). Then he apologizes for a “bad example” (not his, but “yesterday’s”). Not a word of apology to the woman he slapped and scolded. He’s going to have to have another go at – with a little humility this time.

  63. maryh says:

    Listening to something in reverse can be interesting, but there isn’t anything eerie about hearing words in it. Forward or backward, there are phonemes we are trained to recognize as speech, and it is normal for us to try to find words.

    That’s part of what makes it so hard to understand, even going forwards. We listen to recognize the words, but we are also influenced by context. I thought the person who heard “rain” was most interesting, because that appears to both match the long a sound (as in day) that turns up in almost everyone’s attempt, AND that doesn’t seem to match any preconceived context.

    I do some translation, and I have some software (nothing that works with audio input), but my languages are indo-european. I can recognize that it’s a tonal language, but that’s about it.

  64. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Grabbing the hand of an octogenarian and yanking on his arm has no excuse–especially from an Asian woman whose culture has such high regard for the elderly. My elderly parents are younger than 83 and arthritic, and I can’t imagine the searing pain for them if someone did that to them.

    In my opinion, the Pope said to her, “Mano, mano, mujer!” which would translate “My hand, my hand, woman!” In the Argentine accent, “mujer” might sound like “bruja” which is the word for “witch.” But the context is all wrong for using the word “bruja” which connotes an evil woman, or a devious woman, with dark intentions.

    And contrary to Regina Magazine website, the Pope did not say “puta” which translates to slut, tramp, floozie, hussie, or whore. “Puta” is NOT the Spanish word for bitch, which is “perra.”

    “Puta” would be such vulgar trash talk that no Spanish or Italian speaker could have maintained composure in that crowd if the Pope had said that. I find even the accusation that Pope Francis used this word to be perplexing and mystifying, even from those who need to exploit this video as part of a larger strategy to paint Francis in the worst possible light.

  65. Fr_Sotelo says:

    The Academy award winning drama about the woman’s intentions are also baffling: “She NEEDED the pope (like Dorothy needed the Wizard of Oz?); she’s the same as the woman who reached for the hem of Jesus’ garment (because Francis can do the miracle of “stopping her issue of blood”?); “she’s in desperation, he is her last hope” (really?); she wants to tell Francis about the Hong Kong protesters, and instead, he slaps her! (So Francis is buddies with Hong Kong’s police commissioner?), the pope made her go away grieved and sorrowful (What Now? Did he tell her to sell everything and give it to the poor, Matthew 19:22).

    This is a sad day in history–when all the secular, Church-loathing media is reporting this incident with more even handed and balanced perspective, than all the Catholic blogosphere.

  66. The Impoverished Lasts says:

    “ At the same time, my parents raised me that you never, ever strike a woman. Ever. Period.”

    Okay, but what has this to do with Pope Francis?
    Are you going to equate swatting a woman’s hand away with striking a woman in the sense your parents went on about?
    I have my frustrations with Pope Francis too, but if your parents would think batting a hand is that striking of a woman then I think they’re simply wrong. Besides the fact your parents didn’t also raise Pope Francis, so it’s not really all that relevant.

  67. SoCal priest says:

    The pope’s attendants appeared to be negligent in protecting him from over zealous admirers. That said, if any ordinary, run-of-the-mill priest had been video taped doing what Pope Francis did, he’d be swiftly removed and sent away for evaluation and treatment.

  68. Kate says:

    I had some immediate reactions:

    The yanking is something that probably happens every day of his public life.
    He reacted like one of my little kids when they get angry.
    and most importantly,
    “What did she say?”

    I just got the feeling that this is more about what she said than about what she did.

  69. Semper Gumby says:

    Barnacle: Great comment.

    SoCal priest wrote: “…if any ordinary, run-of-the-mill priest had been video taped doing what Pope Francis did, he’d be swiftly removed and sent away for evaluation and treatment.”

    Good point.

    Mornac2: Great point.

    Fr_Sotelo wrote: “Grabbing the hand of an octogenarian and yanking on his arm has no excuse–especially from an Asian woman whose culture has such high regard for the elderly.”

    Viewing this incident through an ethnic lens is inappropriate. Remember, Francis voluntarily did this grip-and-grin, his outburst was inappropriate to say the least.

    As for “Academy Award winning drama” note the papalotrous reactions of Socialist-Catholics and others who breathlessly refer to the woman’s actions as “Assault.” Cheers.

    Kate: Good point.

  70. Alfie says:

    What happens to your defense of him striking a woman and you calling her mentally ill when it turns out he struck the wrong person whom you also insult? Will at least YOU apologize?

    Watch the video and the hands of the person next to the Asian lady, the person with blonde hair, boa, large red hands, and azure cell phone…THIS person did the grabbing and steered Bergoglio’s hand directly into the Asian lady’s hand, the Asian woman only hoping for a miracle, and the Pope’s hand stopped and moved towards her as the Pope turned, and she thought her prayers answered, her watching only his hand.

    Bergoglio not only struck a woman, but struck the WRONG person.

  71. mamajen says:

    My two cents…

    “I just want to say–
    Francis, look at me! Help me!
    Hong Kong is very defeated!
    Pope Francis, wait–“

  72. Alfie says:

    As posted above, HE STRUCK THE WRONG PERSON. Watch the person next to her, the blonde with boa, azure cell phone and large red hands…THAT person is who spun Bergoglio, stopped his hand and moved it directly into the poor Asian woman’s and her only praying for a miracle and seemingly getting it as all she saw was the hand stop, move towards her, and the man turning. This poor lady is another Nick Sandman for all the judgement and derision.

  73. Semper Gumby says:

    The links provided by dd113 and majascule above provide additional context.

  74. Tara Tremuit says:

    Alfie! You’re right! It’s astounding that nobody saw that, but when you point it out, it’s unmistakable. The Yanker-lady in the fur collar even gives the desperate woman a “Hey! I pulled him over here and now you’re stealing my Pope moment” look.

  75. Spinmamma says:

    I was shocked at the Pope’s behavior. As for him being in pain, I have great sympathy for that as I have suffered from a degenerative auto immune disease since childhood and it has caused me untold suffering throughout my life. I am no saint, and my hot temper has been the greatest source of confession material since I became Catholic. However, through the course of my life others have unintentionally inflicted excruciating pain on my body many times–from gripping handshakes to bumping into my swollen joints to making me lose my balance by shoving me in an attempt to get in line first–and me with a cane. However, I have never once reacted by shouting at or hitting anyone, even though I might have wanted to. I know they were acting out of ignorance and the pain inflicted was unintentional. One would think that a public figure choosing to glad hand a crowd would have a little more self control and accept that there is an assumption of the risk that someone might get too pushy or excited Especially a public figure who is portraying himself as humble and striving for holiness and to whom so many look as the Vicar of Christ.

  76. Alfie says:

    the Telegraph Youtube still positively shows red hand fingertips positively embedded in Bergoglio’s wrist while the Asian woman is speaking…

  77. Alfie says:

    everybody went with first media narrative they read, and they ran with it….Sandman Pt 2

  78. Alfie says:

    to save you looking, link to Telegraph video and the still shot says it all…claws hooked into his wrist….a nice compliance hold pressure point….

  79. Alfie says:

    I am avoiding now calling the sex of the REAL offender, as I seem to see sideburns earlier in video, and those are very large hands. The move taking Bergoglio looked almost as a martial arts move in redirection as does the compliance hold, but that may all be chance.

    In any case, being shamed by millions has been fatal to some, and this needs correction worldwide.

  80. ffava says:

    It sounds like Korean to me.

  81. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Semper Gumby:

    “Viewing this incident through an ethnic lens is inappropriate.” okaaaay. LOL.

    Well, in that case, let’s just say, “Grabbing the hand of an octogenarian and yanking on his arm has no excuse–especially when we should all respect the physical needs of the elderly.”There, no “inappropriate” ethnic references.

    As for those who call the woman’s actions “assault,” that inappropriate retort is a “whataboutism.”

    That those critical of Pope Francis are using Academy Award Winning Drama to view this event as an alleged example of him excessively severe, is not justified or somehow balanced out by a “what about the papolators?? What about them calling it an assault? Huh? What about that?”

    This is a sad case where the pagan, atheist, and secular journalists are setting the example for the Catholics to follow–note what happened, make an observation, move on and turn the page.

  82. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr_Sotelo: I stand by my comment.

  83. Alfie says:

    Matt Walsh at Dailywired is sure gonna look foolish along with several claimed priest posters here when they actually read commentary proving THE POPE SLAPPED AN INNOCENT WOMAN.

  84. Alfie says:

    you really should read above commentary to save yourself further embarrassment….just sayin’….

  85. RLseven says:

    I have great respect for people, especially leaders, who can admit their mistakes and apologize for them. The Pope seemed genuinely sorry. Sometimes “in the moment” anyone can miss the mark. He’s human and is authentically so.

  86. roma247 says:

    @Alfie: nice catch, yes, that other hand grabbed him first…BUT!!!

    Look again…the other woman grabs his wrist but doesn’t yank. He continues to move away from her. It’s when his hand comes in range of the Asian woman that she grabs it and does the tugging.

  87. JustaSinner says:

    In the intelligence business that moment is called a mirror…not because of Pope Francis’ reaction, but to see the reactions of those that see the clip.

  88. Kathleen10 says:

    The updated video Fr. Z put at the top of this post is illuminating, and it makes one wonder how many of these lady slapping videos are going to now come out. That video of him slapping a nun’s hand, unless pope’s are now giving high fives to nuns, tells more of the story. Note he has a smile on his face as he clearly slaps her hand, it is bizarre to observe.
    I still say that yank seems to have hurt him, understandable at his age. I don’t want to minimize what he did, but to me the cruelty is not the slap in terms of physical cruelty, but the disappointment and the fact she was nothing but an annoyance to him at that moment, like we feel when a fly buzzes us at the table.
    Here’s the good news. That mask slipped and the world has seen it. He needs to be more careful about that mask now. He’s going to be videoed, a lot.

  89. JTH says:

    The pope had every right to free himself from that woman.

    Perhaps his reaction- the look on his face- indicates age is setting in.

  90. paulc0820 says:

    Well, not to add fuel to the fire, but let’s not forget the time Pope Francis was pulling his ring away from people who were trying to kiss it at the House of Loreto in Italy last March.

    Whatever the reason there is a trend not an isolated incident.

  91. Why did he slap the sister in that first video? She had not even touched him from what I can see. Was he just giving her the hi-5? Nah!

  92. Semper Gumby says:

    JTH: “…that woman.” She’s a religious sister.

    “Perhaps…age is setting in.”

    That’s possible. Though this type of behavior may be a pattern, and lends credence to reports of problematic private behavior in the Vatican and years earlier in Argentina.

  93. southern orders says:

    The new video of the Holy Father slapping the nun’s hand seems to me to be a feeble but jovial attempt at a “high five” and not a swat in anger. He’s smiling the whole time. The original video as well as the Mexican video show a man who has flashes of anger caused by something unexpected and startling to him. If someone is grabbing my hand and causing pain in my body, he’s 83 after all, it seems to be more of an instinctual spontaneous reaction to outside stimuli rather than a character flaw, although anger management might be an issue.

  94. Leonius says:

    Yes there is a pattern remember how he behaved to people who wanted to kiss the papal ring?

    He grew visibly more and more annoyed as people tried to do that.

    Then there was that report by his superior in the Jesuits describing him as “Father Kolvenbach accused Bergoglio of a series of defects, ranging from habitual use of vulgar language to deviousness, disobedience concealed under a mask of humility, and lack of psychological balance; with a view to his suitability as a future bishop, the report pointed out that he had been a divisive figure as provincial of his own order.”

    “I would be lying if I said that I don’t know people who have a profound fear of him, and who move around his person with extreme caution. The situation became worse when he left for Rome, and stopped calling many of those who believed that they were his friends.” Omar Bello

    “That is how Bergoglio proceeds to generate a network of lies, intrigue, espionage, mistrust and, more effective than anything, fear. It is the opinion of an Argentinian official who works in the Vatican and who, out of fear of course, prefers not to be named: Bergoglio ‘is a person who above all else knows how to instil fear.’ Francisco José de la Cigoña

  95. Andreas says:

    Having listened to the clip provided a dozen times, in the end I believe that the young woman may be speaking German…very quickly and with an accent. It sounds like she is pleading something akin to, “Lass dich soll verzeihe…Lass dich soll verzeihe mich….verzeihe mich…verzeihe mich”. The very final utterances are even less clear than the first part. However, if this is indeed the case, then this distraught woman may be pleading for forgiveness from the Pope. That she may be speaking German appears to be reinforced by the Pope admonishing her with his stern reply “Nein! Nein!”

  96. Alfie says:

    Negative…watch frame by frame…the Asian woman is exerting no force and she is much smaller than the Pope, and the barricade would have given away had she done so…
    That is a sideburned male next to her who saw “HIS Pope” being

  97. Alfie says:

    being taken away and tried to power the Pope around to him..
    the Asian woman was gentle and cradling his hand, with no white knuckles as was the red hand of the male.

  98. Alfie says:

    It was a high five as far as the laughing sister was concerned, and all I can see which is suspect, only, is the violence of the move showed some hidden anger, and all only theory.

  99. Alfie says:

    Slow motion and frame by frame does not lie in who had the power grip sufficient to yank the Pope who weighs at least 200lbs….the male with sideburns next to the Asian lady had the death grip, the Asian woman was gently cradling the Pope’s hand.

  100. Dan says:

    Wow, this post sure has a lot of comments.
    Personally I think the Pope has arthritis in that hand, it is the same hand he was tanking away from people trying to kiss his ring. I think it hurts him and this is about the most reasonable thing he has done.
    That is has a very bad temper is no surprise to those of us that follow his actions, so I think many people to point and say “I told you so”
    But slapping someone’s hand away and slapping a person are not really the same thing. “The pope slaps a woman” is misleading at best.
    After heavy analysis no one seems to know what the woman was saying so it is unlikely the pope did either. Hopefully she was asking for the McCarrick report, but if that was the case he probably would have slapped her in the face, as he has been figuratively doing to us all who want the transparency that was promised.

  101. gaudiumcumpace says:

    It sounds like she is repeatedly saying “I am sorry” in an Asian accent.

  102. Hugh says:

    “Let us offer each other the sign of peace.”

  103. Adelle Cecilia says:

    The religious sister looks like she laughed afterwards, so I’m not quite sure what was going on, there.

    However, after reading Alfie’s comments, and rewatching multiple playbacks of PF smacking the Asian lady – I’m not sure he’s accurate.
    • I really think the person with the turquoise phone is a female – I caught the glimpse of a sideburn, but when that didn’t move with the face, and the eyes look female, I’d say that person is a woman.
    • said-phone-holder did grab PF’s hand first, and still had it when the Asian lady grabbed, but it didn’t look like P1 really exerted any force – she looked really surprised that her hand got pulled back with his.
    • red hands are typical on a pale-skinned individual when it is cold.. especially if that person has dry skin (I’m from a family of red-heads, and it’s long been an issue)

    All that being said, I still have no idea what the Asian lady said. But she and the other lady both had his hand – neither necessarily deserved to be physically reprimanded by PF himself.

  104. Fr. Kelly says:

    Thanks to Alfie for calling our attention to the person with the collar and turquoise cell phone.
    There is no doubt that it is her hand that first grabs Pope Francis by the arm and pulls him back.
    I agree with Adelle Cecilia in judging her to be a woman. A number of things including her eyes, shape of her face, manner, dress and cell phone color make me guess that she is a woman.

    It looks to me like she grabs his arm and pulls him back, then things happen very fast. The Asian woman gets two hands on his hand and the security guard pushes in from the right to break it up. somewhere in there the first person (woman?) pulls her hand back and holds up her cell phone for a picture or video.
    In the meantime the Pope slaps the Asian woman’s hands twice and turns away with an angry face.

    I can’t tell with any certainty how much force each of the people are applying, though, I agree that the reddish hand on the Pope’s arm seems to be clutching him pretty tightly.

    On the whole, it is an unfortunate incident that would not have happened if he did not invite it by his reaching out for handshakes. In all seriousness, this is a good occasion for the sede gestatoria. People could see him up close and have a “Pope encounter” without putting him in danger or discomfort. In any case, he should not be hitting either of these women.

  105. Alfie says:

    The sideburns are Elvis sideburns, and show on both sides of face, plus the large hands, says a male with female tastes in clothing/dress/hair styling…

  106. Fr. Kelly says:

    All joking aside, the sede gestatoria would really be the solution to these encounters.
    When Katharine Drexel confronted Pope Leo XIII in 1889 about sending missionaries to the Blacks and Indians in America, he famously halted the sede gestatoria and said to her My daughter, why don’t you go?
    Her impassioned plea to him caught his attention and got him to interrupt his progress without her having to grab onto him by main force.
    When a public figure works a perimeter “pressing the flesh” it invites incidents like this in a way that being carried over people’s heads does not. And yet the same experience of personal encounter can happen as St. Katharine Drexel showed us.

  107. Alfie says:

    Also, the Asian lady movements are fluid, fast and graceful, with no sign of physical exertion, while the male next to her shows all manner of disturbance, and who is the only one whose body moves and turns as the 200lb Pope is snatched. The little Asian could not have done such a snatch to her chin level while fully extended and using only upper body strength, as she would have needed a running start and gone back on her heels.

    The Asian lady’s movements appear effortless because they WERE effortless….

  108. Alfie says:

    Also, the male DID release the Pope AFTER the Asian woman had started her plea, and merrily went back to videoing the aftermath, and just as the video ends, you can see him being called out for snatching the Pope by somebody behind him, to which he gives a classic “who, ME?!” look and starts preparing for a fast get-away….

  109. Alfie says:

    the suprise seen on the male’s face was genuine, as somebody was trying to steal THEIR Pope, and is when this person accelerated in force and motion to bloody well KEEP their Pope.

    The little Asian woman is being accused of something physically impossible….she is shorter than even Bergoglio, and there is no way she could have exerted the force required to accelerate a 200lb+ male….try it yourself….you are going to be visibly exerting yourself to even budge such a weight.

  110. Alfie says:

    We are dealing here with a political animal who is not going to stop trying to press flesh with children and disabled for photo ops….note how many adults he pays even the slightest attention…

    He was in the middle of raising hand to reach a child behind the Asian woman when he caught sight of her, and fearing a possible scene with someone from possibly China, his smile froze and he veered suddenly away with arm still outstetched which provided the opening for the real Pope grabber…

    The poor Asian lady thought only her prayers were answered as the Pope fairly flew towards her, and why she was completely oblivious and then baffled by the commotion, the true yanker’s arm was invisible to her as it was hidden underneath that of the Pope.

  111. JakeMC says:

    Does anyone here speak Tagalog? The timbre of the voice suggests something Far Eastern, but it’s already been established she’s not speaking Mandarin or Japanese; however, I’ve known some Filipino women who also have the same quality to their voices. Additionally, though Mandarin is the universal dialect now spoken in China, the other dialects are not dead. People still speak Cantonese, for example, and there are those who also still speak other, even more obscure dialects.
    One word near the very beginning of her plea (this must be a plea, because she does indeed sound desperate) sounds almost like “nostrae,” so perhaps she’s speaking Latin with an Oriental accent?

  112. TonyO says:

    Oh, brother. I know I am just adding to the din, but maybe I can add just a touch of clarity?

    First: Alfie, thanks for pointing out the person NEXT TO the Asian woman – the person with the azure phone. That person definitely first grabs PF’s hand, and guides it downwards where the Asian woman is ready to grab it.

    But I believe you are mistaken about that person’s effect. The Asian woman leans backward, and this is what causes PF to turn and move toward her. Furthermore, although the mysterious blond with the phone still has his/her hand on PF’s wrist, PF’s motion is not toward that person, but toward Asian woman. The angle is quite wrong for azure-phone person to be causing PF’s motion. Look at it again – azure-phone person would literally have to be tugging PF at a right angle to him/herself to achieve that motion. Not likely. Furthermore, azure-phone’s facial expression is all of surprised dismay – he/she did not expect anything like what these 2 seconds of action produced.

    Now, as to Asian-woman’s grabbing: bad form, just the sort of thing that leads to problems. Pulling back on his hand? Definitely not OK. You just don’t do that to someone like PF. Maybe she was hysterical – but she didn’t look like that when she made the sign of the cross. She looked like she was just plain going to force him to give her 3 seconds of attention. Not OK.

    Now, as to PF and hand-slapping: I think it is more than likely that she hurt either his hand or his elbow or shoulder – she stopped his forward motion and pulled him sideways. It might not have hurt MUCH, maybe just a twinge, maybe just for a half-second – that’s just pure speculation. What we know is that it was unexpected. And then she wouldn’t let go.

    When you weigh all the pros and cons – PF is glad-handing (but mostly little kids, but not ONLY little kids), he is working a crowd, she was unduly firm and possessive, etc – it is not surprising that he would resort to mild force to get his hand back. He shouldn’t have, but he also didn’t sock her in the mouth, either. On a scale of 1 to 10 for “badness”, it’s maybe a 1 for the objective facts (the double-slap of the hand) and maybe add 1 more for the subjective element that he’s a pope out glad-handing. Yeah, maybe 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. I.E. very small potatoes. If PF really did use a bad word, add one more point to the total. Why so low: it was a SURPRISE, and totally an in-the-moment reaction without any forethought whatsoever. So he says a bad word. I have heard that some saints used a bad word now and then, caught by surprise. It’s really small stuff.

    And then there’s the apology: people are right about the fact that he missed the essential: he should have apologized to the woman for his bad behavior, and then apologized TO US for the bad example. As for the other theory – that he inserted all of us into his failing: nah, I don’t buy it. The apology that he gave would have worked just fine if he had just preceded the bad example apology with an apology to her, and describing himself as no better than the rest of us is – while not FANTASTIC – neither is it terrible. It’s ho-hum. Listen, you don’t want a 3-day sermon of apology on this, it’s TOO SMALL for that. 2 sentences should have been enough, 3 would wrap it all up fine (if done properly). It’s a bad moment, but it’s also a little moment.

    As for this showing he is a bad man or a bad leader: oh please! Get a grip. He had a bad moment. I have heard that JPII and Mother Therese had bad moments. Let it be. A saint can have a bad moment of this (incredibly small) magnitude. A man as wise as Solomon can be slightly mistaken about an apology, just look at … Solomon. I say this having been VERY unhappy with PF’s theology and the tenor of his pontificate. I don’t like him, and I don’t like his politics, his appointments, or his public documents. But THIS? It’s small. Let it go. Agreed, he shouldn’t have done it. No, it’s not of momentous significance to anything. He got blindsided (sure, he should expect that KIND of thing if he is going to work the crowd, but you can’t be “prepared” for being blindsided – that doesn’t even make sense). Let it go.

  113. Alfie says:

    My last comment…the male shows shock and anger THEIR pope being stolen, turns and pulls pope arm towards him before even the Asian lady even gets her second hand on the pope…

    the Asian woman’s motion is straight towards herself, while the male reaches toward camera and pulls away from camera, the SAME motion the pope’s arm takes, and that is AFTER already being the obvious one to stop and begin turning the pope…the little Asian moves very little, only reaching out and then back where she started.

    the male rotates near 90degs and recedes away from camera and has the pope’s arm in their right hand with elbow bent and using the turn and own weight and arm strength to complete the move, and CLEARLY has the painful vise grip on Bergoglio’s wrist while the Asian woman begins her appeal with her hands far more relaxed…..this is stop motion and 0.25 playback speed.

    It is right there but everybody so already preconditioned to see another offender than they refuse to seriously even think as to how a little Asian lady could move that quickly and fluid and yet somehow snatch a 200lb male silly….her moves were fluid and effortless, because they were…

    But, I surrender….nobody really cared to start with, and only the latest internet sensation for titillation and now that the thrill is gone, time to move onto the latest outrage…

  114. Alfie says:

    Sorry…i lied…but only in regards to the judgement he just had a bad hair day….I could see him MAYBE slapping away a male, but given my Christian upbringing, where one never strikes a woman, no matter the provocation, and as a senior myself with a lot more aggressive and deforming arthritis than Bergoglio suffers, and who gets hand crunched regularly every Mass, he was so far out of line he is a circle.

  115. I really hope that this is wrapped up.

    I asked …


    That’s what I asked.

    Remember that?

  116. GHP says:

    It’s clear as crystal! She’s saying:

    Paul is dead … Paul is dead … Number Nine … Number Nine … Number Nine….

  117. prayingcher says:

    I saw the big red hand grab him then let go too, as if not to get caught in the act…

  118. prayingcher says:

    Curious, is this what you think she is saying or should be saying? Oh, how so many of us want to know what she did say!!

  119. prayingcher says:

    I agree.

  120. prayingcher says:


  121. prayingcher says:

    She might be saying — they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love!

  122. prayingcher says:

    He seems to be saying — do as I say and not as I do!

  123. Semper Gumby says:

    An interesting take on the audio from the Clay Testament blog.

    “Of course it is very common for those who haven’t mastered a second language to use phraseology typical of their native language. In this case, the English words spoken by the woman would seem strange to English speakers, but would reflect usages in Chinese. It’s what we call “Chinglish”.”

    Clay Testament’s transcription in English and Chinese characters:


    As Francis walks away he does not appear to be in pain with behavior such as flexing his hand or guarding his arm, he appears to be angry.

  124. Adelle Cecilia says:

    I came across Matt Walsh’s video about the incident and had a good laugh:
    •so, since the Pope did it – if someone grabs my hand at the NO to try to force his “peace” upon me, that means I am now allowed to smack his hand, right? ;-)

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