“Hypocrites, well hath Isaias prophesied of you, saying: This people honoureth me with their lips: but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men”

— Mt 15:7-9 (DRV)

As Mike Lewis noted yesterday, during a pilgrimage to Loreto, Pope Francis made a beautiful address about the significance of family, based on the traditional understanding of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

What was the reaction from the usual papal critics, who constantly hound the Pope for supposedly shying away from this part of doctrine? A sigh of relief? A nod of approval? An “it’s about time,” even?

No. This fact has been completely ignored and overlooked by papal critics. What has caught their eye, then? The fact that for approximately one minute, the Pope apparently pulled his hand away from some of the faithful who attempted to kiss his ring. The desperation to unearth anything (anything!) to criticize the Pope and to bury away anything praiseworthy for him is so visible and shameless, it’s staggering. This goes beyond a hermeneutic of suspicion, it’s a hermeneutic of denigration. Such an anti-papal bias effectively invalidates these sources from presenting themselves as faithfully Catholic.

Now, before I am misunderstood, I must stress this: In no way am I attacking those people in the queue who wanted to show their devotion to the Pope and were unable to kiss his ring. My focus is on those who have taken advantage of this to further their agenda. My critique is of those who spend all their time attacking Francis and who are now suddenly preoccupied with not being able to kiss his ring as a sign of respect to him.

How do they resolve this incredible cognitive dissonance? The sleight of hand is masterfully presented in a tweet by leading papal critic Michael Voris: “They are honoring the OFFICE. Not the man. This “humility” thing is just over the top.”

This is not a new argument. In fact, we’ve seen it several times before. It is deployed whenever these critics want to undermine Pope Francis while pretending to be Catholics in good standing (and therefore, faithful to the pope). They separate the office from the man.

Strategically, it is an outstanding move. As a man, Pope Francis can be criticized and denigrated at will. But if the “office” remains untouched by their reproaches, they are effectively respecting the Pope – so they say.

This ignores, however, a very crucial fact: the papacy is built upon real men. There is no papacy without the Pope. There is no floating tiara haunting the Vatican until it finds a suitable host. There is no platonic ideal of the Pope, sitting on the platonic ideal of a papal cathedra, signing a platonic ideal of a magisterial document with a platonic idea of a pen, in the otherworldly universe of platonic ideals.

Of course, the papal critics would be very pleased to pretend otherwise, in a way that actually illustrates the extreme cunningness of this argument. A platonic ideal living in an abstract world is not a real person.

A real person can contradict you. A real person has idiosyncrasies that force you to adjust, and therefore, to leave your comfort zone. A real person is nothing like what you had idealized.

A platonic ideal, on the other hand, can never intrude on your life, unless you let it. An immaterial idea, sealed away in a completely abstract world, utterly unfleshed, can never annoy you, can never contradict you, can never move you out of your comfort zone.

This means that the platonic ideal has yet another solid advantage over real people: it can fit completely inside your head. In the end, even if you are completely unaware of this process, the platonic idea may be given shape by being injected with your own thoughts, opinions and prejudices.

In other words, it can be molded into your own image and likeness.

So, of course the papal critics make recourse to the platonic ideal of a Pope. It is all too convenient. It is the same strategy they employ when they try to delegitimize Pope Benedict’s resignation. They are overthrowing Pope Francis from his papal throne, and replacing him with an unwilling Benedict. If Benedict is still the Pope, they can just disobey Francis without disobeying the Pope.

The election of Pope Office, The Platonic, fulfils the same vicarious role. In fact, it is even better than imagining Benedict is still the pope. Sometimes, Benedict has this pesky habit of issuing letters and speeches praising Francis. And Benedict legitimists have to explain them away. Pope Office would never do that. They can elect Pope Office as the true pope, and Pope Office will always do their bidding. Pope Office is always there to reprove, reproach, and excommunicate the same sort of people his disciples want to see reproved, reproached, and excommunicated… even Pope Francis. Especially Pope Francis. Since Pope Office’s authority outranks Pope Francis, they see no problem with this.

It’s no wonder they want to keep the tradition of kissing Pope Office’s ring. And it’s no wonder they hate Pope Francis for not allowing them to do that. It is very convenient to place Pope Office on an untouchable pedestal, where those real life human popes can never reach and pervert. But isn’t this turning the papacy itself into an idol? Isn’t this the kind of papolatry those critics are always decrying? No, it is worse. This papolatry does not idolize the Pope, but rather an idea of the Pope built in their own image and likeness. They are not engaging in papolatry, but in egopapolatry, an even worst kind of idolatry. They are idolizing a Vicar of Christ on their own terms and calling him “office“, so that he can never pull his ring away from them.

This strategy, however, as convenient as it is, doesn’t stick. One of the greatest advantages of Catholicism is that our religion is not gnostic, nor manicheistic. It is a sacramental religion (i.e., a visible sign of the reality of God). It is a religion built around the Incarnation of God as man. It is a religion with the highest devotion to the Real Presence. It’s a religion built on historical facts. Not a religion of lofty, abstract, intangible principles. Not a Platonic religion, but a Thomistic-Aristotelian one. It is a religion directed to concrete, palpable realities.

What we do have is an actual, real, flesh-and-blood Pope, who acts as the true Vicar of Christ, the realization of Jesus’ promises in the flesh: the promises that He would stay with us until the end of time and that the gates of Hell shall not prevail.

What is the Pope’s role, then? Being servo servorum Dei, the servant of the servants of God. This means that, if the Pope wanted to do away with the kissing of the ring, he could do it, and nothing would be subtracted from his dignity for doing so. Just as nothing was subtracted by St. Paul VI relinquishing the papal tiara, or the retirement of the sedia gestatoria. He is still the Pope. It is solely within the Pope’s purview to abdicate from such externalities, and not incumbent on demagogues to demand such abdications, as we often see in secular media. But those externals are in no way intrinsically connected to the essence of his office in such a way that he would cease to be Pope if he didn’t have them.

What is essential is that the Pope exists to lead and guide the universal Church. He exists to confirm the faithful. He exists to magisterially interpret Scripture and Tradition, in a way that commands assent of will and intellect from the faithful, even when he is not making infallible pronouncements.

In other words, you can’t respect the office of the Pope if you dissent from his magisterial teachings.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you publicly undermine the documents he promulgates.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you find excuses to dissent from Laudato Si’. You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you find excuses to dissent from his revision of the Catechism on the death penalty. You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you find excuses to dissent from Amoris Laetitia and its magisterial interpretation (the Buenos Aires guidelines) as per the manifest will of the Pope.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you say you don’t need to assent to his non-infallible teachings.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope when you read his papacy through a hermeneutic of suspicion.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you spend all your time accusing the Pope, to the point of trying to find anything to undermine him, no matter how shallow it is.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you constantly malign the Pope, always insult the Pope, repeatedly calumniate the Pope.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you take the actions of a famously humble Pope to try to ensnare him, so as to judge his intentions and his heart, as if his humility was only for show.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope by trashing the Pope all day on social media.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you consume and share media with a notorious anti-papal bias.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you give more credence to a political party’s agenda than to the Pope’s teachings.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you see the Pope’s authority being undermined, and you travel the world giving lectures and interviews about the limits of the papacy, without correcting dissenters when they appropriate your arguments.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you set yourself as the true interpreter of Tradition and Scripture against the Pope.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you want to honor him with externalities, all the while disrespecting him when and where it truly matters.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you try to strip the Pope of his office.

You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you disrespect the person of the Pope.

In conclusion, it is utterly inconceivable to criticize the Pope for allegedly disrespecting his office for not allowing people to kiss his ring, all the while turning a blind eye (or even engaging) in all sorts of disrespect for his office and person. If they rebuke the Pope for that, they should do well to take the beam from their eyes first. No one has been more disrespectful of the Pope’s office than them. No one has damaged the papacy more than them. Their kisses are hollow, for their hearts do not follow their lips.

Francis’s detractors may want to divorce the office of the Pope from the person of the Pope. But those are interconnected realities that do not exist apart from each other. As dissenters themselves proclaim as a sacred truth: “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” 

[Image: “Kiss of Judas“, Ludovico Carracci, ca. 1589]

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Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.

Kiss the person, not the office

52 Responses

  1. carn says:

    “An immaterial idea, lost in a world of abstractions, can never annoy you, can never contradict you, can never move you out of your comfort zone.”

    As “can never” is false in case of a single example to the contrary at any place or any time, this claim is false as in my live exactly that happened, “an immaterial idea” moving me out of my “comfort zone”.

    “You don’t respect the office of the Pope if you disrespect the person of the Pope.”

    So if i had lived during the cadaver synod, i would still have been required to respect Pope Stephen VI as a person? I would have been required to respect a person who had dig up a rotten corpse to make a show trial?

    And how does that claim fit together with what Pope Francis teaches?
    If i understood him correctly, Pope Francis does not want that the office itself is sufficient that the person holding it deserves respect, but that the respect and trust must be earned by that person again and again. So it seems Pope Francis advises me against respecting him just because of his office; accordingly, if i lose respect for him due to what he does or says, it seems that i follow exactly the teaching of Pope Francis if i then stop to respect him.

    About the ring kissing:
    The Pope is of course free to alter that custom any moment; but preferably, one should tell people about the altered custom before they make themselves a fool before a camera.

    And the whole scene did not increase my respect for Pope Francis, cause there is so far no for me no perceivable reason for acting that way; accordingly, Pope Francis comes along as close minded and/or unfriendly.

    Especially i am lost, whether Pope Francis wants to have exactly the respect for him, that his actions and words deserve according to the individual perception; cause this and other actions point in that direction; but as often, i am a bit uncertain whether i understood correctly what he wants.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Regarding your first criticism, about ideas not being able to move people, you’re right. However, I thought the sentence before that quote and the “lost in an abstract world” gave a context that made it clear what I meant. But this text was pieced together in a bit of a hurry, so maybe I should’ve been clearer. I rephrased it.

      And yes, in the context of the Cadaver Synod, you should be required to respect both popes. This is not hard, even if you disagreed with one of them.

      As for how you must respect the Pope, I think my litany explains it in a way that Pope Francis would not object. I don’t know in what you base yourself to claim that Pope Francis teaches that he must earn his respect and trust again and again. My understanding is that Francis teaches we should respect everyone, even those who do not deserve it.

      Regarding the ring kissing, new context is emerging from the full video, so I would advise people to wait a few hours or days before forming an opinion on it.

      • carn says:

        “My understanding is that Francis teaches we should respect everyone, even those who do not deserve it.”

        I did not mean the general respect that is my due to every human being; but the respect one gives to a teacher or similar, cause the teacher knows more about some subject or is generally wiser and one would do well to listen to him to learn; its the respect, that leads in situations, where obviously one side seems to be dumb, to presume that it is not the teacher.

        I do not see how i could offer that respect to Pope Stephen VI, at least in regard to handling of justice.

        “I don’t know in what you base yourself to claim that Pope Francis teaches that he must earn his respect and trust again and again.”

        His anti-clericalism statements not seldom sound as if what clerics say about the faith has no extra credibility/quality due to them being clerics and therefore is not more or less than any laypersons opinion.

        “It is not the pastor to tell lay people what they must do and say, they know this better than we do.”

        If the words of clerics have no extra credibility/quality due to the office, then this logically would also hold true for Pope Francis; i would be according to his teaching be free to form my opinion about what he says solely based on what he says, disregarding that these are words of the Pope.

        You probably understand, that if i formed an opinion based on the words of Pope Francis alone while (mostly) ignoring the office behind the words, it would be even less positive than now.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        I see nothing in that quote that says that Pope Francis believes we should not respect the teachings of the Pope, or that the Pope should earn our respect and trust again and again before we give it to him.

        Nor do I see anything in that quote that invalidates even one of the sentences from my litany of what constitutes respect for the Pope

        In fact I don’t even see anything in that quote that even hints at “what clerics say about the faith has no extra credibility/quality due to them being clerics”

        It is not up to the clerics to replace the layperson’s conscience and tell that person what to do and say. Does that mean that that layperson should not respect the cleric’s teaching? There is a difference between being a teacher and a puppeteer. Modern pedagogy understands this difference quite well.

        I do believe you are reading too much into it, and conflating a lot of different things in the process

      • carn says:

        “teaching” is a form of telling someone what to do or say. Take the change to death penalty; that is clear teaching that the laypersons should – if they happen to be in a situation in which their actions are relevant in this respect (e.g. a politician voting in some way about death penalty) – act in a way, that leads to abolishing the death penalty, and that the layity should speak out against the death penalty – if they happen to be in such situation (e.g. a politician or helper formulating a campaign plattform). The same is the case with quite a number of other issues, e.g. immigration, ecology.

        There is no clear difference; its a continous spectrum; every teacher to be a good teacher must also tach some “do/don’t do/say/don’t say”.

        Somehow Pope Francis wants to have it both ways, layity in no need of being told how to vote/act/speak and yet tells us to vote/speak/act against the death penalty.

        And when catholics do not do as the Pope, who suggest clerics should not tell the layity how to vote/act/speak, tells us, WPI and other good folks are around to call them dissenters.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        What ONG said. Again you are taking things out of context and conflating many different unrelated things

      • ONG says:

        “It is not the pastor to tell lay people what they must do and say, they know this better than we do.”

        I skimmed the letter, and what I found was that that specific sentence was related to *popular piety or devotion* only.

        About the term “Clericalism”, Pope Francis doesn’t refer to it as for being among “clerics”, but he uses it negatively, emphasizing the “ism”, as an opposition to being a Pastor, a Shepherd, i.e. one that also takes care of the flock, and not creating distance by enjoying his superiority and/or administrative tasks only.

        I hope this expands your perspectives.

  2. Michael Demers says:

    What does (DJV) stand for?

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Sorry for the typo. It’s DRV (Douay Reims version). It’s very popular in more traditional circles, so I usually use it in articles like this to avoid the accusation of using a liberal and inaccurate version.

  3. Ralph says:

    If this article in The Guardian is accurate, Pope Francis’s predecessors may have had similar attitudes toward ring kissing. From the article:

    “Some Vatican watchers noted that even Francis’s predecessors Benedict, a hero to nostalgic conservatives, and John Paul II did not like having their hands kissed – at least not by long lines of people, for the sake of expediency.

    One Twitter user recalled that when he visited John Paul with a group of 50 people they were told specifically not to kneel or kiss the papal hand.”


    It sounds like there might be a practical reason to dispense with ring kissing if Pope Francis was pressed for time and needed to keep the line moving as this BBC article seems to indicate.


    Also mentioned in the article is that when US President John F. Kennedy met Pope Paul VI he did not kiss his ring so as to avoid people claiming that he was subservient to Rome, a common claim against Catholics in the United States at the time.

    In any event, this should be a non-issue. As you mentioned, Pope Paul VI dispensed with other outward symbols of the papacy in the past and it didn’t mean the end of the Catholic Church. This makes papal critics look even more petty and ridiculous than usual. If they truly respected the office of the pope they wouldn’t be jumping to attack Pope Francis any chance they get.

  4. Chris dorf says:

    If I were personally in the position of the Pope, and even knowing the significance of showing a sign of reverence for the position of the Supreme pontiff as created by Jesus our savior, by kissing the ring, I would have difficulty with allowing people to do that while it was on my hand just because it would be hard for me because Jesus washed the feet of the apostles and told them to do likewise.

  5. Joana Freudenthal says:

    Other Popes did it. Bishops here in Portugal do it all the time.
    Thank you for this text, Pedro Gabriel!

    P.S. Tem versão em português também, para poder chegar a mais gente?

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Obrigado pelas suas palavras. Infelizmente apenas escrevi em inglês, porque escrevi este artigo para este blog que é um blog internacional

  6. Bridget Taumoepeau says:

    Thank you so much for perfectly encapsulating the hypocrisy of the anti-Francis brigade. As well as taking the beam out of their own eye, they need to go back to the essential Gospel message, which Francis is constantly reminding us of.

  7. Joana Freudenthal says:

    Full vídeo


    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Yes, the hand yanking only starts at around 10 min in. Unsurprisingly, the “bad humility” interpretation gets unlikelier when put into the proper context

      • Ralph says:

        It looks like the line was speeding up. I think Pope Francis was strapped for time so that probably explains the hand yanking I think.

  8. L. Daily says:

    I’ve stopped believing that self styled “trads” have even the slightest understanding of Christian discipleship. They seem wrapped in theatrics and cosplay and scrupulosity. I think its time to let them play in their own sandbox until they tire of it.

  9. Marie says:

    I seriously almost ‘lost it’ when I read about this supposed controversy. Thankfully I knew where to come to look for some sense of normalcy, far away from the increasingly out of control anti Francis movement.

  10. jong says:

    Dr.Taylor Marshall will discuss this new criticism or attack in his channel.How sad reading all the evil comments on Pope Francis on Dr.Marshall channrl and Dr.Marshall is blocking any messages that will defend Pope Francis that’s how clever he is now like the old serpent.
    Dr.Marshall had become evil nowadays embracing all kinds of evil messages from Pope Francis not only tolerating but encouraging opposition too.
    Pope Benedict XVI was right in describing the existence of the Council of Media to sow confusion and destroy the Vatican II Church. Pope Francis more than ever need the help of the like of “wherepeteris” to counter the lies and confusions spread by the Council of Media to undermine Pope Francis papacy.
    Dr.Marshall is constantly feeding the evil commentors with topics to attack the dignity of Pope Francis.
    All his videos whose theme are bent on attacking the dignity of Pope Francis are bordering if not a clear gossiping.A mortal sin against 8th commandment.CCC2479

    My Jesus mercy as Dr.Marshall is giving platform for confused catholics and those identified with the group whose motto is “recognized but resist” attitude towards the Pope.
    St.Catherine of Sienna and Cardinal Caffara teaches that all who oppose the Pope are going to eternal damnation.
    No wonder why Pope Boniface VIII proclaimed the dodmatic teaching “Unam Sanctam”.

    • Chris dorf says:

      I am surprised to hear about Dr. Marshall as I just discovered him in the last several months from an old article of his contrasting Saint Francis of Assisi and Martin Luther and how one renewed the church and one led to a split of Christianity. What’s your explaining of what he is doing now seems so divergent from the old article of his that I read. Darn…

    • ONG says:

      You must avoid to be blocked by those sites and channels, otherwise you won’t be able to follow with how they manipulate the news spreading half-truths and lies with sly sophistry.

      RomeReports (RR) also hosts many anti-Catholic commenters, who enjoy spreading lies and trolling with several off-topic calumnies and disinformation. Among them are those who are truly deceived and sound rather brainwashed than fully convinced.

      How one interacts and communicates with them (if it’s worth the time) is crucial for whatever one writes will have a successful impact on them or not.

      Typically they will try to wiggle out with excuses, and digressing by posing new questions about completely different issues that have nothing to do with the original post / video.
      The ability of the replier (pedagogically speaking) should be not to fall into the temptation of satisfying all their whims, but help them (lead them) to stay focused on the main topic. If they are not interested in a productive dialogue, it would just be a waste of precious time. Their new replies will tell if it’s worth to continue or not.
      One of two latest video by RR, summarizing Pope Francis’ visit to Morocco received an avalanche of comments that reflects what I wrote earlier. Ecumenical and Interreligious dialogue is also another big obstacle for many of them, because they have a huge knowledge gap, esp. concerning the post-conciliar teachings and their practical implementation, and/or in reconciling them with the Gospels.

      Have a look, ’cause one guy, you might know mentioned you, accusing you of lying! There you can see: Truth vs. Lie, Right vs. Wrong, is now the dilemma as a new attempt of wiggling out of all the unsubstantiated claims.

      I’ll post the link separately for quickly access, since it could be useful for others to review.

  11. Peter Aiello says:

    We can respect the pope, and also respect our place in the Church at the same time. Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium 12 says: “The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, (111) [cf. 1 Jn 2:20, 27] cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when “from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful” (8*) [Cf. 1 Cor. 10: 17] they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth.”

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      It is so convenient to have a religion built upon one single paragraph from one single document, especially when it states (out of context, of course) that you are always right and need not heed any authority but yourself. Whenever you feel challenged you need only play the “You’re out of jail” card, I mean, quote, and you can go your merry way.

      Peter, I will not aprove any more comment of yours that is based on that passage from Lumen Gentium or the limited Biblical passages you quote ad nauseam. If you want to contribute, you need to show that you have something else to add to a meaningful conversation, or to enrich our exchanges with something else. If you can’t, just imagine you copy-pasted this comment in every single article, as you have done so far, and save us both the time. Thank you

      • Peter Aiello says:

        Knowing that we all have skin in the game may be a comfort to some who have trouble knowing what to believe in this time of doctrinal development.

    • L. Daily says:

      Peter, did you ever consider that the invitation to reexamine medieval practices like ring kissing, discouraged by B16 among others and tied to papal indulgences rather than to Christ, might be a way for the laity to move toward the spiritual maturity described in Lumen Gentium?

      • Peter Aiello says:

        Any attempt to move the Church towards Christian spiritual maturity is a good thing. My point has been that we can all contribute to this process. V2 has made us aware of this. The laity is not a second class tier in the Church. V2 has allowed us to individually reexamine the stages of doctrinal development throughout the 2000 year history of the Church. Many traditional Catholics don’t realize how different even pre-Vatican II Catholicism was from the Church’s beginnings, which were very powerful. V2 has been used for liberalizing the Church; but it can also be used to bring us back to our beginnings.

  12. ONG says:

    Perhaps this could explain some concerns (although not all) the *rebels* might have:


  13. David Cooke says:

    //This ignores, however, a very crucial fact: the papacy is built upon real men. There is no papacy without the Pope. There is no floating tiara haunting the Vatican until it finds a suitable host. There is no platonic ideal of the Pope, sitting on the platonic ideal of a papal cathedra, signing a platonic ideal of a magisterial document with a platonic idea of a pen, in the otherworldly universe of platonic ideals.


    Does the Papacy cease to exist during an interregnum?

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Yes, yes it does. That’s actually the point. If not, why do the Cardinals flock all over the world to elect a new Pope? Why did the people in 1268 take issue with how long the Conclave was taking, so much so that they tried to force an election by removing the tiles of the roof? Why is the sedevacantist position problematic at all? If the Papacy remains during an interregnum then there is no need for a Pope.

      Kissing the papal ring during an interregnum doesn’t make any sense. It makes even less sense to kiss the papal ring of a Pope one is always disrespecting.

  14. The issue for me is not the merits of ring-kissing. It is, precisely, the rudeness. Why not just fold his hands in front of him, if — for whatever reason — he does not wish to have people kissing his hand? It’s what people do if they have a rash or an injury or have a cold and don’t want to spread it. If necessary, have your aide make an announcement.

    Quite a lot of people who have been critical of this episode have made this very point — that the Holy Father’s reactions were rude.

    Do you now have to be a so-called “traditionalist” to find the hand-yanking rude?

    Take it out of the clerical context. You invite some new neighbors over for dinner. It turns out they are recent immigrants from elsewhere in the world. In their kindness and gratitude, they do things that are odd and uncomfortable, perhaps kisses on cheeks or bows or whatever. Despite your discomfort or unfamiliarity, is it polite to recoil or yank back from the gesture? Repeatedly?

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      The issue for me (and the issue of this article) is the rudeness of the people who are finding in this fait-diver yet another reason to criticize the Pope, because they want to respect the Pope by kissing his ring all the while disrespecting the Pope everyday in social media

      Do you have any comment about that?

      • I am not familiar with the term, “fait-diver,” and Google Translate was not helpful; so I may be misunderstanding your question. That said, I certainly think many people have been rude in their criticisms of Pope Francis, and indeed, many show disrespect toward the pope everyday.

        Now, I’ve answered your question straight out, to demonstrate good faith. May I now return to the question I asked in the comment to which you replied, and ask if you will be so courteous as to respond directly to my question? In sum: do you think this action by the Holy Father, in this instance, was rude? Do you think it was embarrassing to those of the faithful who had the hand-to-be-kissed yanked away? Let us stipulate that the pope had a good reason for doing so. That doesn’t mean this wasn’t a not-nice thing to do to people.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Fait-diver is a French term for a sensationalistic headline with no substance. Or about some news piece given more importance than it actually has.
        Regarding your question, I don’t know. I have no problem in admitting that the situation could’ve been handled better or that the Pope has been rude. The Pope is not impeccable, after all.

        Problem is, for me to make that judgment, I would have to know the reason why the Pope has behaved like that, for only by knowing that, I would know if he could have behaved differently

        But no explanation I’ve come across, even in official venues, satisfies me completely, be it the Pope doing away with a tradition, or hygienic reasons, or cramps, or whatever.

        During 10 minutes the Pope allowed people to kiss his ring and suddenly, for a full minute, he withdraws his hand. Why was that? I don’t know.

        Since I have incomplete information I choose to charitably not rush to call the Holy Father “rude”, and in fact choose not to form an opinion about the incident. I really think that in this age of information, we tend to forget that we don’t need to have an opinion over every single thing, especially when we are not privy with all the details.

      • Thank you for your courteous reply.

    • L.Daily says:

      Fr. Fox, as I recall from your online presence, we all have a lot to learn about rudeness. I would hope that your promise of obedience would include giving the Pope the benefit of the doubt, at least in public.

      • L. Daily:

        What a strange response. If you have something to say about my “online presence,” please say it straight out, rather than make vague and derogatory (“we all have a lot to learn about rudeness”) insinuations. Is that too much to ask?

        Second, my promise of obedience is to the ordinary and his successors; it says nothing about refraining from ever disagreeing with any behavior or actions of the pope. When did that become the rule?

        Do you think it is rude to jerk your hand away from people as they bend down to kiss it? Do you actually think that was not embarrassing for those people? And if you concede that it was, what word would you use for causing someone else embarrassment — particularly in an superior-inferior situation?

      • L. Daily says:

        You know your online history. I’d be happy to post examples if you’d like.

        And you can decide for yourself whether a Roman Catholic priest might do well to presume the best about the Pope, most especially in public.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        I thank you for your comments and contributions, but I would like to ask that we would stay focused on the topic of the article and avoid making things personal, even with those we disagree with.

    • Mike Lewis says:

      The fact that so much attention (and anger) is directed at ONE MINUTE of video is a problem. It’s being used as the latest example of Pope Francis’s horribleness. And it’s being done by the same people who have been undermining and criticizing this papacy for years. This is especially infuriating because of the papalotry shown by the detractors of Pope Francis. The have nothing but contempt for the real pope, yet they want to worship his “office” as an idol.

      • Jane says:

        Yes, those were my exact thoughts. When there is respect and love for a person, and a willingness to obey, those kinds of actions are overlooked, quietly not paid attention to, let go, etc. However, with Pope Francis, his every action and word is over-analyzed in order to take him down.

        And this is being done to the Vicar of Christ on earth. It reminds me of the following passage from a prayer book of mine I love entitled “Holy Hour” by Mateo Crawley-Boevey, printed in 1943. ” ( as though Christ is speaking:) My Vicar is perpetually the victim of the jeers of this maddened throng! . . . He is My representative, My visible face on earth. . . In his person I continue to be buffeted by those who insult My Church. . . The blow of a sacrilegious Malchus is particularly painful to Me; woe to him who places his hand on the Pontiff, the holy anointed one of My Father! . . . ” (1943, p 252)

        These folks who report in this manner remind me of the Pharisees, ever ready to pounce for every perceived or imagined word or action that may or may not be off-beat, and not a single word of the beauty and truth and goodness that Our Holy Father is proclaiming to us day after day after day. . . . .

  15. Peter Aiello says:

    By withholding his ring, the pope is symbolically putting himself and his office into proper perspective.
    We are all ambassadors for Christ when we hold up the Head, who is Christ. The pope is teaching by example.

  16. Pete Vickery says:

    Pope John Paul did not allow Cardinal Wyszynski to kneel to him in 1978 upon his election to the papacy. In fact, Pope JP tried to kneel to Wyszynski instead. Not wanting honor is not a deficit in character.

    • Pete Vickery says:

      Found a photo of the moment:
      It’s significant to me but I understand if it isn’t as significant to others. It came at a difficult time in my Mother’s life. She was battling colon cancer (which eventually cost her her life). My mother was 100% Lithuanian and she cried tears of joy when she found out that Pope John Paul II was half Lithuanian. We had had hundreds of years of Italian Popes and to think that a brave and brilliant man who broke that line was born of a full- blooded Lithuanian mother. Saint John Paul the Great, pray for us!

      • Joaquin Mejia says:

        St. John Paul II was half-Lithuanian??? It is only now that I have heard something like this. I should know because he is my favorite Catholic saint. I read a lot of articles and a biography of the awesome man but I never heard that ever brought up. I do know though that Poland and Lithuania were once a Commonwealth.

      • Pete Vickery says:

        Yes, here is the link from Wikipedia. Both of his mother’s parents were Lithuanian. His mother’s name was Emilia. She was born in Poland to Lithuanian parents.

      • Joaquin Mejia says:

        I am not really a big fan of Wikipedia but thanks for the link. When he was canonized by Pope Francis, St. John Paul II was one of the first saints I learned about that was not Spanish, French, or Italian. He got me quite interested in Polish history. St. John Paul II is a big inspiration to me. He is a true servant of Jesus Christ. Again, thank you for that bit of information.

  17. jong says:

    Chris Dorf
    Your correct, I admire Dr.Marshall before on his theological insights and teaching , but lately starting from the Ab. Vigano testimony last August 2018 his character shifted. The first 10 to 15 videos i could say Dr.Marshall still open to discussion to all people who are defending Pope Francis. But before the end of 2018 as clearly seen, his agenda had been exposed. Dr.Marshall channel were now geared to undermine Pope Francis papacy. He no longer allows anyone on his channel to post any comment to defend Pope Francis, his channel wants to conveys that their discussion are agreed upon even by all the viewers as shown on the comment section. It’s like a Remnant channel by M.Matt and other Trads channel who continuously upload videos to attack the dignity of Pope Francis (like Watchdog for Truth, Return to Tradition, etc.) but block any comment to counter their fake news reporting. This is the trend on most Trads channel, they are constantly feeding their viewers of any negative action they can perceived about Pope Francis and discuss it, elaborate it further even to the point of gossiping. Check out all Dr.Marshall videos even the caption and photos of Pope Francis was already edited to make it appear he is a heretic. This is the sad reality of Dr.Marshall as he now embraced and spread the LIES & DECEPTIONS of Council of Media and worst encouraging his viewers to believe their personal opinion that Pope Francis is teaching a false theology and had committed a lot of errors & heresies by changing the Church Doctrines.

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