Tonight I saw that the FNC crew of The Five showed the video and, at first, thought it was a joke.
There is a piece at LifeSite which seeks to put to an end the Ring-gate episode. In effect, the explanation is that, for most of the time Francis allowed his ring to be kissed. Then, something happened and he needed to keep his hand safe for a bit. Later, he was again allowing people to kiss his ring.
Admittedly, Francis was a little rough with these unsuspecting faithful.
However, in my previous piece a couple days ago, I wrote:
Consider the experience of a public figure. Everyone wants to shake your hand. Imagine you are, say, a politician, pressing the flesh. In a campaign, the repetitive stress of handshakes is horrendous. Watch how public figures, after a while, tend to offer their hands: they protect them by offering just a few hooked fingers, which is bad enough.
I’ve had a few experiences at conferences where many people want to shake my hand. I’ve gotten it crunched a few dozen times by happy well-wishers. It’s the repetition that causes the problems.
Just a thought as we watch this rather ghastly video. I am not saying that I know for sure that Francis is trying to protect his hand. I think he is trying to keep people from kissing his ring. On the other hand – *cough* – that’s the hand that everyone goes for.
In the LifeSite piece we read:
However, if one studies the complete video, one sees that for about 40 seconds before he begins to draw back his hand, from 1:00:15 to 1:00:55, several of the faithful grasp the Pope’s right hand (his ring hand) and kiss the hand or the ring, holding the hand tightly with both of their hands.
This series of “graspings” may have led the Pope (even, perhaps, only subconsciously) to feel he needed a bit of “space” in order not to be “captured” by these grasping hands.
So, in the succeeding 55 seconds, every time someone began to reach for his right hand, he drew it back. That is the part of the video that has “gone viral.”
Indeed, the Pope in these moments did something he did not do during the rest of the video: he lifts his right hand and grasps each person on their upper left arm, guiding each person to the side so that he can receive the next person.
We can put this aside for now.
In the meantime, I think that these old practices are good and should be fostered and respected.
Moreover, noblesse oblige.
I also have great sympathy for those who have people grabbing at them all the time.