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Pope Francis awkwardly jerks his hand away refusing to let people kiss his ring (VIDEO)

Pope Francis awkwardly jerks his hand away refusing to let people kiss his ring (VIDEO)
Pope Francis is at the center of a peculiar firestorm after refusing to allow members of the faithful to kiss his papal ring during a visit to an Italian shrine. Video of the cringeworthy scene caused an outcry from acolytes.

It remains unclear why Pope Francis recoiled whenever the pilgrims attempted to kiss his ring after mass in the Holy House of Loreto on Sunday.

The gesture is considered a sign of devotion to the faith, however footage shows the Pope repeatedly jerking his hand away when members of the congregation attempt to kiss it.

Online reaction was largely one of bemusement however many took exception. Catholic priest Kevin Cusick tweeted: “It’s a grace for the faithful to be able to show respect for the office of the Pope by kissing the papal ring. It’s not about the Pope, it’s about the faithful.” 

Kissing of the bishop’s ring is reportedly used as a reminder of the clergyman’s promises to the faithful but also their loyalty to him.

However, Pope Francis has shown discomfort with traditions within the Roman Catholic Church in the past. For example, he once prized a young altar boy’s hands apart after asking if they were “stuck together.”

While no immediate explanation for his apparent revulsion at attempts to kiss the papal ring was given by the Vatican, that didn’t stop commentators online from speculating.

“I think the Pope sees the ring kissing as an aggrandizement of his person and feels personally uncomfortable with the gesture,” Raymond Arroyo said.

“He doesn’t get that it’s not about him. It’s about the office,” an unnamed source close to the Vatican told LifeSite.

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