Pope Francis issued an apology on Wednesday after he slapped a woman's hand away who would not let go of him at the Vatican's giant Nativity scene after a New Year's Eve liturgy on Tuesday evening.

The Pope went viral on social media after an unidentified woman was seen grabbing his hand from behind a barrier and pulling him towards her just after he reached out to greet a child.

"Love makes us patient. So many times we lose patience. Me, too," he said during his St. Peter's Square address. "I say 'excuse me' for the bad example."

He continued, "Women are sources of life. Yet they are continually insulted, beaten, raped, forced to prostitute themselves, and to suppress the life they bear in the womb. Every form of violence inflicted upon a woman is a blasphemy against God, who was born of a woman."

Last year, The Pope, who appears to be somewhat of a germaphobe, faced criticism after he pulled his hands away from pilgrims who tried to kiss him on his hands.