Pope Francis pulled over to bless a disabled woman on a stretcher earlier this week, garnering the goodwill of those nearby and furthering his reputation as a more personable pope.
According to those who posted the video, Pope Francis and his staff were driving through the southern Italian region of Calabria when the pope stopped his car to greet a small crowd standing by the road with a sign that said "Please Pope stop here to see an angel."
When he exited the blue sedan that had been transporting him, the Pope approached a disabled woman, gently placed his hands on her face, and seemed to offer her his blessing.
The pope then shook hands with those who gathered around the car as they cheered and clapped for him.
"Bravo! Bravo, Pope Francis!" they repeated enthusiastically. One man held out a baby to receive the pope's blessing.
Many see the roadside blessing as yet another signal of the accessible, personal style Pope Francis has brought to the papacy since he succeeded Benedict XVI in 2013. Since his election as pope, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has struck many with his public gestures of humility, including placing his hands on a severely disfigured man and washing the feet of Muslim prisoners. He also stirred controversy by asking "Who am I to judge?" in reference to gay priests and has called for the abolition of torture. TIME magazine named him "Person of the Year" for 2013.
In a previous trip to southern Italy, Pope Francis condemned the mafia and called for an end to crime.
The pope visited Israel, the West Bank and Jordan earlier this year, which included a trip to Yad Vashem. He followed his visit with a 'peace summit' with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican.
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