Disturbing video: Pope Francis refuses to let Catholic faithful kiss his papal ring

ROME, March 25, 2019

Pope Francis today made it clear that he doesn’t want the faithful to kiss his papal ring, as he repeatedly pulled his hand away from pilgrims who were lined up to greet him reverently during his one-day visit to the Holy House of Loreto.

A disturbing video from the Italian news site TGCOM 24 captured the Pope’s insistence that the laity not show him such reverence.

It’s not known why Pope Francis objects to this.

The meaning of the ring

A bishop’s ring is a sign of his “marriage” to the diocese over which he rules. Conferred during the rite of consecration, the episcopal ring was historically regarded as emblematic of the mystical betrothal of the bishop to his church.

The formula used in the rite of consecration of a bishop when he is invested with his ring is laden with such symbolism. According to the rite, the principal consecrator places the ring on the ring finger of the new bishop’s right hand, saying: “Take this ring, the seal of your fidelity. With faith and love protect the bride of God, his holy Church.” The formula dates back to the first millennium.

According to the Council of Nicaea, a bishop was not to be moved from his diocese due to the nuptial meaning of the episcopacy. Deserting the church to which he was consecrated and transferring himself to another diocese was regarded as tantamount to “adultery.”

St. John Fisher (1469-1535), the only cardinal to ever die for the faith, repeatedly refused to be translated to another diocese, even though he had been entrusted with the diocese of Rochester, one of the poorest in England. He said he “would not leave his poor old wife,” (the Rochester diocese) “for the richest widow (other diocese) in England.” Fisher in fact refused to abandon his diocese and was imprisoned and martyred for refusing to accept the king’s abandonment of his wife.

The gesture of kissing the episcopal ring (called the baciamano in Italian) is a way of reminding the bishop of his promises to his people and their loyalty to him. It is a reminder of the unbreakable nuptial bond between him and his people, and the affection and loyalty for each other. Clergy and laity who kiss a bishop’s ring therefore remind him of his undertakings when he was consecrated to the episcopate.

The Bishop of Rome’s ring — the “Ring of the Fisherman” — is a sign of his husband-father relation to the Church as a whole and is smashed upon the death of a pope. It is also the symbol of the Pope’s investiture of his office. To kiss the “Ring of the Fisherman” therefore alludes to the dignity and office and is an expression of loyalty to him as the Successor of St. Peter.

When Pope Francis received the fisherman’s ring at his installation on March 19, 2013, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and patron of the universal Church, the ring was borne in procession from the tomb of St. Peter where it had been laid.

As he received it, the following prayer was said:

Most Holy Father, may Christ, the Son of the living God, the shepherd and guardian of our souls, who built his Church upon rock, grant you the ring, the seal of Peter the Fisherman, who put his hope in him on the sea of Galilea, and to whom the Lord Jesus entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.

Today you succeed the Blessed Apostle Peter as the Bishop of this Church which presides over the unity of charity, as the Blessed Apostle has taught. May the Spirit of charity, poured into our hearts, grant you the gentleness and strength to preserve, through your ministry, all those who believe in Christ in unity and fellowship.

Why the unease?

The episcopal ring symbolizes the unbreakable unity between the bishop and his spouse, the local Church. Pope Francis has shown himself to be uncomfortable with such traditional concepts in the past.

The Pope has also shown himself to be uncomfortable with other traditional gestures of reverence.

Shortly after his installation as Pope, he asked a young altar boy piously standing with hands joined if they were “bound together.” Attempting to pull the boy’s hands apart, Pope Francis said to him: “It seems like they’re stuck” (watch video here).

The reason for his aversion to the laity kissing his ring is unclear.

Pope Francis does seem comfortable with personal expressions of loyalty to his person rather than his office.

In comments to LifeSite after seeing the video, a source close to the Vatican said: “He doesn’t get that it’s not about him. It’s about the office.” Another observer noted that while Pope Francis is uncomfortable with  the faithful kissing his ring, he has repeatedly welcomed expressions of personal esteem and affection though selfies and hugs.

LifeSite asked Vatican spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti, why the Pope did not want the faithful to kiss his ring during his visit to the Holy House of Loreto but has not yet received a response.

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22 Responses to Disturbing video: Pope Francis refuses to let Catholic faithful kiss his papal ring

  1. Gertrude says:

    I am not convinced that this video hasn’t been photoshoped.


  2. mmvc says:

    Here’s an exchange on Twitter where someone expressed similar concerns:

    10h10 hours ago
    Replying to @TheCrushedBones
    Laurence, I’m not at aĺl sure if that video wasn’t shopped. Although I agree that kissing the ring should be accepted humbly and graciously
    1 reply 0 retweets 0 likes
    Reply 1 Retweet Like Direct message

    Laurence England

    10h10 hours ago
    I don’t believe it was shopped. It would be totally in keeping with Francis.
    1 reply 0 retweets 0 likes
    Reply 1 Retweet Like Direct message


    10h10 hours ago
    I know. But I’m searching for the TG24 to verify all the same
    1 reply 0 retweets 1 like
    Reply 1 Retweet Like 1 Direct message

    Ca Native

    9h9 hours ago
    The Mass & reception was recored by Cat satellite
    It’s not clipped you can find it on the net .


    Rome correspondent, Ed Pentin who requested an explanation from the Vatican Press Office, provides a link to the full video:

    18h18 hours ago
    In Loreto today, @Pontifex doesn’t want the faithful lining up to greet him to kiss his ring, and takes his hand away. This is something he has done quite regularly during his pontificate though not quite so insistently as today.

    125 replies 112 retweets 160 likes
    Reply 125 Retweet 112 Like 160 Direct message

    Edward Pentin

    9h9 hours ago
    Earlier today I asked the Holy See Press Office if there was an explanation for @Pontifex’s behaviour but there’s been no response yet.
    19 replies 27 retweets 139 likes
    Reply 19 Retweet 27 Like 139 Direct message

    Edward Pentin

    Follow Follow @EdwardPentin
    The full video https://youtu.be/OwThs4LGsOU 00:59 begins the pulling away of the hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David O'Neill says:

    This will be music to the ears of some retired bishops who have regularly refused to allow the Faithful to genuflect & kiss the episcopal ring. It was pointed out to His Lordship that the action was not aimed at him personally but at the office of which he was, at that moment, the incumbent. Ther is, sadly, too much personality cult within the Church


  4. kathleen says:

    Great article! So very revealing… except that we are not surprised, are we?

    Pope Francis has no respect for his papal “office” at all. Never has ever since he stepped out onto that balcony as pope six years ago calling himself simply “the Bishop of Rome”. It’s all about him, Jorge Bergoglio – hence the love of selfies and hugs, and his refusal to allow the faithful to venerate the ring. As the tweeter above comments, indicating that the video was not photoshopped:

    ”It would be totally in keeping with Francis.”


  5. Could it be that this sick and confused old man won’t let people kiss his ring, because deep within his mind lurks the thought that he’s really not the pope?


  6. kathleen says:

    Seems that Pope Francis is not averse to those that want to kiss the papal ring who are young, strong and ‘gay’! 😱


  7. Gertrude says:

    I really hadn’t thought I could be shocked by anything emanating from Rome, but now I understand this is a genuine depiction I confess to failing to understand why a Pope would ignore such a sacred tradition as people genuflecting to kiss the Fisherman’s Ring as has been done for hundreds of years.
    Perhaps therein lies the answer. Tradition.


  8. Brother Burrito says:

    I fear this venerable old tradition of respecting the Office of the Pope has become as meaningless as that “Thank you for travelling with us” ritual you get as you leave an aircraft nowadays, from a smiling stewardess.

    Also there is a “pecking order” element at play: “Ooh, I kissed the Ring, did you??”

    Kathleen, please give the context of that picture, or shame on you.

    I’ll get my donkey-jacket…


  9. Crow says:

    Kathleen that picture is outrageous!!! Who is the toy boy and what is the event? Was it another nativity scene at the Vatican? Courtesy of Archbishop Paglia? Perhaps the Archbishop (I cannot bring myself to use the honorifics), designed the outfit? Or, perhaps it was a meeting for the Pontifical Academy for Life and Family? Please enlighten. In any event, he has definitely got the approval of Pope Francis.
    I did notice though, in watching the video, that Pope Francis does not look like he is having a good time. It must be stressful destroying a Church on a schedule dictated by one-world megalomaniacs.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. geoffkiernan says:

    Perhaps in a strange and reassuring twist, let’s hope this has been photoshopped, thereby exonerating the Pope from an embarrassing and salient reference to his abhorrence of anything resembling tradition, (very astute Gertrude) but I fear not.
    And the context does little to mitigate a disturbing comparison. Either way, there is something troubling in the Popes behavior.


  11. geoffkiernan says:

    It just occurred to me… BB are you really comparing the ‘venerable’, ‘traditional’ and ‘Sacred’ duties of the Pope/Papacy to the duties and the mundane responsibilities of an Airline Stewardess?


  12. mmvc says:

    A reply from a moderator to someone questioning the authenticity of the video clip at The Remnant:

    We had it checked out by a professional video producer before we ran the story. In addition, he’s been doing this, on and off, for years. He really dislikes the adulation of the office, and prefers to hug people and kiss babies. This time he’s just more aggressive about it than ever before.

    Here’s the whole post followed by some interesting comments:


  13. kathleen says:

    Kathleen, please give the context of that picture, or shame on you.

    How charming! Sounds very unlike the witty, kind-hearted donk I used to know. (Sigh)

    Okay then BB, here you go:

    As you can see, PF was only too happy to allow the strong young half-naked circus worker to kiss his ring (7th February, 2018), but was rude and rough with all those good respectful traditional Catholics in Loreto a few days ago.
    Does this not tell you anything? Wake up, for goodness sake!

    It is precisely because we love the One True Church and the role of the Vicar of Christ on earth, the Papacy, that we cannot do other than condemn the outrageous actions of this papal usurper.
    Or have you not heard of how this man (whose own rector advised against his consecration as bishop, saying he was “a sociopath”) has an agenda to destroy the teaching and traditions of the Catholic Faith? That’s why the rebel cardinals of the St Galen mafia, who share his mindset, devised an illicit way of getting him onto the Chair of Saint Peter.


  14. kathleen says:

    @ Crow

    “Toy boy”, haha – that’s exactly what he looks like! But as you will see in my response to BB, he was actually a circus performer who had just finished his act at an event in Feb, 2018.

    If PF had not behaved in that rude, rough and un-Popelike way in Loreto, everyone would have probably just put the circus ring kissing incident down to one more of Francis’ embarrassing shenanigans. As it is, his blatantly insulting behaviour in Loreto has made worldwide news. You should hear some of the shocked commentary in Spain right now!


  15. johnhenrycn says:

    So ridiculous and narcissistic – assuming the video is real – that Pope Francis thinks people mean to kiss his hand. They are attempting to kiss the Ring of Peter – a metaphorical thing – but which PF seems to think he is actually wearing. Such a silly idea – don’t you think, Burrito?


  16. johnhenrycn says:

    My friend Burrito says (23:27) there’s a “pecking order” when it comes to kissing rings, and that people who succeed are (presumably) trying to lord it over those who don’t:

    “Also there is a “pecking order” element at play: “Ooh, I kissed the Ring, did you??”

    Such scorn for people who kiss rings, as if Burrito knows why they do. Why do they, Burrito?

    I’ve only ever kissed one episcopal ring – a bishop of very low degree on the “pecking order” – after which I did not turn and smile at people following as if to say – I am so blessed.

    As for the ultimate Episcopal Ring, why does PF think he owns it?

    Even convert Catholics are allowed to think about these things, Brother Burrito.


  17. johnhenrycn says:

    My mention of the bishop whose ring I kissed reminds me of his brother – the pastor of the parish I joined on April 2nd, 2005, the day St John Paul 2 died. I remember being upset one Sunday, some years later, when he preached there was no everlasting Hell. I will leave that for now. He has left this earth. We are blessed by tradition. If I may paraphrase a recent essay by David Breitenbeck:
    The fundamental philosophical principle upon which Tradition is based is that TRUTH, including Moral Truth, is knowable and unchanging.


  18. Brother Burrito says:

    Should His Snittiness, Lord johnhenrycn of Blogshire, deign to accept my reply:

    I generally write so undiplomatically in order to elicit a response, and appear to have succeeded!

    This blog, which purports to profess the Gospel, saddens me. Our Lord came to Earth to announce the Kingdom of Heaven, citizenship of which was open to all people who were willing to renounce all earthly tribal affiliations for the sake of the Kingdom. “Love thy neighbours and enemies” etc. Chesterton remarked that our neighbours and enemies are usually the same people.
    He left in charge his most dud disciple, Peter, as an example for all time. Few of the Popes since have proven to be superheroes of Christian perfection, and that is the point: Sainthood can only be truly discerned post mortem. Before then, a candidate’s earthly words and deeds might appear highly suspect to many. Thus exists the principle of giving a person the benefit of the doubt.

    Please forgive my ramblings. I am now retired from work on ill health grounds, and have trouble keeping up with the parry and thrust of online debate like I used to. Writing the above has exhausted me, and I must pause now for breath. To be continued…..


  19. johnhenrycn says:

    I must say I got a chuckle reading your opening, but it was all downhill from there – especially the part about your forced retirement. Please allow me to think of you during the period set aside for our private intentions at Mass on Sunday. All Hail Mystic Mug and every one of his sock puppets!!


  20. Brother Burrito says:

    Thank you JH, et cum spiritu tuo.


  21. Brother Burrito says:

    It now appears that the Pope was acting like this because he was worried about the cross-infection risks of so many people all kissing his finger jewellery.

    Out of interest, would anyone here be happy kissing a ring or even receiving from a chalice if they knew a person with Ebola was in front of them in the queue?

    Catholicism is about being infected by the Cross, not cross-infection


  22. johnhenrycn says:

    Cross-infection, Brother? Was PF afraid that he might be infected by us, or that he might infect others? My mother-in-law (Anglican) once told me that no one was ever infected from drinking from the common Cup. I am living proof of that fact. Our dear PF’s ring is the least concern for me.

    Please don’t speak of Ebola, which is silly, frankly. There are homosexuals who advertise that they are HIV positive, and there are men who want to be infected.


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