Screenshot ©  Twitter / CatholicSat

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.

Pope Francis really doesn't want anyone kissing his ring.
This from today, after Mass … pic.twitter.com/CZUO8ppNfo

— Catholic Sat (@CatholicSat) March 25, 2019

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.” 

He’s just trying to make sure this doesn’t happen. pic.twitter.com/oTBxpb6Wqt

— Fattest Bear (@ljcharley_11) March 26, 2019

Can you imagine the bewilderment and void he leaves on these people with that as the encounter? It's not just kissing of the ring he recoils, but also the bowing and kneeling that he rejects.

— Matt Miller (@iowaliberty) March 25, 2019

It looks like a SNL skit.

— Mark Howard (@Mark_msh) March 25, 2019

pic.twitter.com/EKTG6nArx2

— Paulo Cutre (@PauloCutre) March 25, 2019

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.

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

pic.twitter.com/VhhsBgofoB

— Misifú (@menganita79) March 25, 2019

Con Dios en el Corazón VS con Asco … pic.twitter.com/NK7PNfQEe6

— DiwoLA (@DiwoLA) March 26, 2019

someone leaked his phone audio that was recording him the whole time ? pic.twitter.com/UzXSPXM4Sy

Crypto Euclid (@CryptoEuclid) March 26, 2019

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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