Catholics have a tradition of kissing the hands or rings of bishops as a sign of honouring them and their service to Christ, but Pope Francis has long been known for breaking certain customs.
While receiving worshipers during his visit to the Holy House of Loreto, near the city of Ancona, Italy, Pope Francis surprised those who approached to greet the pontiff and to kiss the Ring of the Fisherman that he wears by repeatedly drawing his ringed hand away and not allowing the people to finish the customary act.
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Although it remains far unclear why the Pope decided to break with the tradition, which is meant to allow worshipers to show their respect to the top cleric, his move drew mixed reactions from people online. Some saw it as a sign of positive change in church traditions.
I see a modern Pope. He’s openly removed himself from some traditions of the church and is paving a route for the church down a road which holds true to Christian values, not ceremonial ones.
— Francis Booth (@MrBooth23) March 26, 2019
He loathes deference and ostentation. From the beginning he refused to wear the more lavish papal trimmings choosing a humbler appearance.
— Lachesis figlia di Zeus ????????????? (@CaroleMagoha) March 26, 2019
Others disagreed with them and argued that he should uphold the tradition.
Price you got to pay if you wanna play at being pope….take it like a man
— ? (@Empirejo) March 26, 2019
I’d be CRUSHED if the Holy Father ripped his hands away like that. Papa Benedict smiled and made eye contact with me when I was a University student is Rome. It was so special and I treasure that memory. Th memory of this will cause heartache for those Catholics forever.
— Katherine Letellier (@KatLetellier) March 25, 2019
Several netizens considered the act weird…
Undoubtedly the weirdest thing you'll see today.
— Matthew (@recovringlawyer) March 26, 2019
Awkward ???♀️ pic.twitter.com/6CR1iUtDUD
— Caroline Sharkey (@carolineshark25) March 26, 2019
… or even suggested that the Pope had put on the wrong ring.
— ? (@AI3x78) March 26, 2019
Some social media users guessed that maybe kissing the ring is allowed only for minors, referring to recent scandals that have hit the Catholic Church.
Only the kids are allowed to
— Ollie Glaysher ? (@OGlaysher) March 26, 2019
He wouldn’t move it away for the under 12s
— Sean Wills (@wishy80) March 26, 2019