Pope Francis has been filmed repeatedly pulling away his hand when the faithful try to kiss his ring. The bizarre footage emerged during a one day visit to the Holy House of Loreto basilica, near Ancona, on the east coast of central Italy.
It was shown on Italian news site TGCOM 24 and led to speculation about his motive and also criticism for an apparent lack of respect.
The Pope’s Fisherman’s Ring has at its centre an engraving of St. Peter casting his net from a boat and the name of the reigning pontiff is inscribed on the rim.
The heavily symbolic ring represents his ‘marriage’ to the faithful, who kiss it as a mark of devotion. It is smashed at the end of each Pope’s rule and a new one made for his successor.
Pope Francis has broken with tradition including on Catholic teachings and also shown himself to be awkward at customary gestures of reverence given to the Pontiff.
He also chosen to live in a modest two room apartment rather than the spacious penthouse reserved for the Pontiff. But many of his actions have led to a backlash and the video showing him pulling his ring away has also come under fire.
A source close to the Vatican told the Catholic news website Lifesite: “He doesn’t get that it’s not about him. It’s about the office.”
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.”
Watch the video below.