Four people, count ‘em, four, have sent me a link to a video with Polish titles and voice over from the Vatican TV feed of the Pope’s visit in Germany. What you see is the Pope moving along a line of prelates and monsignori with his hand out, rather robotically, offering it to be shaken. Several of the prelates do not shake the Pope’s hand. The people who wrote to me either ask about or express their dismay that the Pope is being shown disrespect, is being snubbed.
Here are two of the comments I received in email:
I found this video of the Pope with the German bishops and it looks that several of them refused to shake his hand as a minimal level of courtesy and respect. The film seems to come from Poland. I haven’t seen it commented on anywhere else. I was shocked and greatly disturbed by it. Its a short film.
I really hope and pray that these bishops are not treating the Holy Father with so much disrespect. I hope that the video isn’t what it seems and that I’m overlooking some sort of protocol or aspect of foreign culture. I wonder if you have any thoughts about this, especially as it relates to what the Holy Father is trying to do with respect to the New Evangelization and Reform of the Reform.
The video is HERE. I will attempt to embed.
Friends, don’t read too much into this video. The Pope is NOT being snubbed. He may be introducing people to the German President. Some shake the Pope’s hand, others don’t. It isn’t a snub.
The men who don’t shake the Pope’s hand are close collaborators and his friends. For example, you see Card. Brandmüller, a good friend of the Pope. There is Bp. Josef Clemens, the Pope’s former personal secretary and now Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Laity. There is Msgr. Guido Marini and the rest of the papal MCs. On the other hand, Card. Kasper did move to shake the Pope’s robotically outstretched hand. So does the Archbp. Woelki of Berlin, who doesn’t see the Pope all the time and who hasn’t been a close collaborator.
Poor Pope Benedict. Imagine how much of this he must endure. His collaborators spare his sore hand. Also, many people think that a handshake is NOT the best way to honor the Vicar of Christ.
So, do not read anything into this video.