Pope Francis repeatedly flinches as people try to kiss his ring

He had reportedly asked people not to kiss it, but it isn't clear why

Chiara Giordano
Tuesday 26 March 2019 13:41
The Pope really doesn't seem keen on people kissing his Papal ring

A video has emerged of Pope Francis repeatedly pulling his hand away as people try to kiss his papal ring.

People lined up to greet the pope at the Holy House of Loreto in Italy on Monday, with many shaking his hands before bowing their heads to kiss his right hand.

But each time someone reached down, Pope Francis could be seen awkwardly flinching his hand away in footage of the event.

Many criticised him after a video went viral on social media, however others defended his actions, explaining he had asked the public not to kiss his ring beforehand.

Traditionally, the kissing of the papal ring is a sign of respect for the office.

It is not clear why Pope Francis did not want people to kiss his ring, however some people believe the act is out of touch with modern thinking.

Pope Francis said mass, comforted sick people, and signed a paper he had written on the role of young people in the Catholic church during his visit to the city of Loreto on Monday.

Dozens of people flocked to see him at the House of Loreto – one of Italy’s most-visited religious shrines, which some Catholics believe was the house of Mary, mother of Jesus.

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Monday coincided with the Feast of the Annunciation, also known as Lady Day, which marks the visit of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, during which she was told she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, according to the Bible.

The House of Loreto is now part of a large basilica that attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year.

In his address to crowds in the square outside the shrine, Francis did not mention the tradition but said Loreto was a place of spirituality, faith and devotion.

The meeting was dominated by discussion about how to better welcome gay people into the church, give women a greater say in decision-making, and manage the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal.

Additional reporting by agencies

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