MEXICO CITY (AFP/REUTERS) - The Vatican defended Pope Francis' "human reaction" after he briefly lost his temper when an over-enthusiastic admirer in Mexico tugged him over on top of a child in a wheelchair.
The 79-year-old pontiff was greeting worshippers on Tuesday in the city of Morelia when a member of the crowd pulled him forward by the hand.
Video footage showed that while the pope was walking at the edge of a crowd in an stadium, he stopped to greet children who were sitting.
Two arms reached out to grab him and the person would not let go, even after the pope lost his balance and his chest was pressing on the head of the child in the wheelchair.
Aides and security men stopped the pope from falling to the ground. After he returned to an upright position, his face turned angry.
The pope straightened up with the help of his bodyguards and smiled briefly before his face turned stern and he told an excited admirer: "Don't be selfish." He soon started to smile again and hand out rosaries.
"It was a normal human reaction" to certain admirers' "excessive enthusiasm," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters late Tuesday in Mexico City.
The pope has said in the past that he is prone to anger but that his bad tempers do not last.
Earlier in the celebration, he had warmly embraced two girls with Down's syndrome who ran towards him on the stage where he had appeared to the crowd.