Putting Ring-gate To Rest

Tonight I saw that the FNC crew of The Five showed the video and, at first, thought it was a joke.

My posts HERE and HERE.

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. DeGaulle says:

    At least he said the Mass ad orientem. In the long run, this takes precedence.

  2. FrAnt says:

    Watch how popes in the past presented their hand for the ring kiss. It was not a handshake. I could imagine the pain when a crusher comes by squeezing your hand blue the pain lingers. Now add a ring in the mix, even more pain. The pope should not offer a handshake, but a presentation of the Fishermen’s Ring for veneration, hand out fingers down.

  3. Sue in soCal says:

    What I noticed is the most aggressive action withdrawing his ring is with the laity, perhaps because they came at the end, but, nevertheless, an announcement should have been made at least on how to kiss the ring without grabbing the Pope’s hand.

  4. HvonBlumenthal says:

    The Vatican says the Holy Father withdrew his ring out of concerns for the hygiene of the faithful.

    I take it he will now put an end to communion in both kinds by the laity.

  5. Easy solution:

    Secure the ring tightly in a display case, which can be placed on a table near the Holy Father. People can kiss away.

  6. Sorry, excuses don’t fly. Watch the video again; he extends his hands for people to shake. If I don’t want someone shaking my hand or kissing it I certainly won’t extend it. Also, has he ever heard of “hand sanitizer” or like Monk, have the person next to him hand him a wipe.

  7. cajunpower says:

    That’s a well-intentioned construction of the events shown in the video, but the tape doesn’t lie. He clearly extends his hand to greet each person, retracts it whenever someone goes in for the smooch, and then extends it again when the next person approaches. That is entirely inconsistent with a hand injury.

  8. Louis Mountbatten says:

    Germs are everywhere, the world is full of them. If he is so scared, then he can lock himself away in is apartment for the remainder of his Pontificate, however long that may be.

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    If he did that to me, I would spend the rest of my days in embarrassment, and every memory of my trip to Rome and seeing the pope would be agony for me. Rather than a lovely recollection it would be something that would make me cringe all my days, to be treated so by the pope. It may even affect my faith. I do not go to Rome, have never been to Rome, Italy, or Europe. To do so would be a huge deal, an experience of a lifetime, one I won’t do in my lifetime. To have that happen, would be devastating. To be blocked, shunned, shoved to the side, by the pope? Oh my God.
    There is no excuse for what he did. It is obvious what he did. Reportedly he only did this to the hordes, the faithful laity. According to him we are the “Pharisees”, the “Parrot Christians”, the “moralistic quibblers”, the “Christian hypocrites only interested in their formalities”, the “existential tourists”, the “restorationists”, the “embittered”, the “old maids!” Yes, these are all terms he has called us, and more (Pope Francis Insult Generator). Any pope that would call the laity thus would have no problem playing Shove the Dirty Tourist.

  10. tho says:

    We see a lot more than we used to. But I can’t help feeling, that a piece of Catholic dignity is being chipped away by this Pope’s words and actions.

  11. jaykay says:

    “It may even affect my faith.”

    Ah, it wouldn’t, Kathleen10, no, certainly not. It might affect your respect for the current holder of the Chair, the Servus Servorum Dei, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t affect your faith. Nope.

    If, God bless and preserve him, the poor man has a problem with his hand, then maybe one could could just smile and make a bow, as Orientals do? Surely the many minions around his throne (ooops, seat of humility) could have informed the throngs beforehand of his manual incapacity and prepare accordingly? Unless, of course, they were clad only in loincloths. Or whatever.

  12. anj says:

    Ring-gate’s solution:


    Get it?

  13. Barnacle says:

    Doctors get stuff squirted at them all the time. Nursery teachers have to deal daily with snotty, dirty children, treating them with affection and care, always. Bus drivers have people sneezing and coughing all over them all day, but they have to remain polite and get on and collect the fares and drive the bus. Popes and Royalty have to accept that people will want to express their affection/loyalty enthusiastically. Sometimes this is going to hurt. Bugs might be spread around.
    It goes with the job. Get on with it.

    When you get to meet Queen Elizabeth, you are asked beforehand to please shake her hand gently. She actually offers her fingers only, very gently. This is called protocol. She sometimes winces with the pain, when someone forgets. But she would never, never. behave as the Pope did.

  14. TonyO says:

    Watch how popes in the past presented their hand for the ring kiss. It was not a handshake.

    That’s what I was thinking. Why in the world does the pope need to have his hand grasped and held in order for a lay person to kiss the hand? Not necessary. Just extend the RING – even with a closed fist. That’s enough.

    I sympathize with every politician and other public figure who has to shake 600 hands in an afternoon. The answer is (a) do some strengthening exercises (take 3 months off to rest it first, if you have to – put a cast on it for public events), or (b) do the thing mentioned above with Queen Elizabeth, TELL people how to be polite about it, teach them.

    Even though Pope Francis had better options than what he did here – so what? It’s a minor quibble in a pontificate of major disasters! It’s not that important! Get on with life, people.

  15. PetersBarque says:

    And so, we have a President who vociferously defends the faithful, and a Pope who, for whatever reason, demonstrably antagonizes them.

    Dickens seems fitting right about now…

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

  16. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    It seems to me that there is a lot of faux “outrage” over PF moving his hand away.

    Those so-called “traditionalists” and/or “conservatives” make themselves and others look a lot like Max Beans et. al. with their tearing of their cloaks over PF removing his hand for whatever reason he chose to remove his hand.

    But this commentator thinks that is indeed the intent – harming authentic Catholicism by infiltration of the “traditionalists”/”conservative” Catholics with pseudo-Catholics trying to make authentic Catholics look bad. It is an Alinskey-ite/Marxist/Clintonian/Leftist tactic – conquer from within. The current hissy fit by (possibly false?) traditionalists indeed makes authentic Catholics look ridiculous, that is for sure.

    There is indeed quite a bit of evidence showing PF to be a heretic, divider, and otherwise gravely harmful to God’s Church. But labeling a video of a man removing his hand from the mouths of people as “disturbing” was indeed pretty far overboard by a certain entity. It is noteworthy, too, that that particular entity has increasingly published support for socialist principles, and that entity is increasingly hounding for hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations. This commentator use to support that particular entity, but now it is necessary to be cautious – not due to their criticism of PF, but rather due to their somewhat bizarre takes on trivial matters as well as their apparent support of socialism. Oh, and they also regularly publish images and at least one video with large amounts of nudity. Maybe they are just making serious errors. Or maybe they indeed have bad intentions. At this point, one must be prudent in following their thought patterns.

    Either way, the present hissy fit over the ring is absurd.

    [And yet here you are… hissy fitting all over the place.]

  17. bobbird says:

    So, two different answers: 1. His hand was hurt (but he kept hand-shaking); 2. It was unhygienic. I think our culture is quite familiar with “damage control”, “changing narratives” and “spin-doctoring” by now, especially when one considers the source: the PF Vatican.

    Col. Potter to Hawk Eye & BJ: “Are you going to stick with that story?”

    “No, we’re working on a better one.”

  18. Kathleen10 says:

    Hey jaykay, thanks.

  19. Geoffrey says:

    I don’t know what’s worse: this, or if the Holy Father instead feverishly used hand sanitizer in between each greeting…

  20. ArthurH says:

    ANJ above is spot on. Seems the latest attempt to spin the behavior is indeed “hygiene.” Spare me, unless there was some big outbreak all were worried about, of which nada has been mentioned anywhere I have seen.


  21. robtbrown says:

    Whenever kissing a ring, I have to admit that I never make contact. The smooch usually happens an inch or so above it.

    Osculum interruptum.

  22. I don’t buy the excuses either. Unless they were going for the Guinness Book of World Records, there was no reason (and probably no precedent) for having this many people extending solita oscula in such rapid succession. No wonder people were “grabbing” his hand. It was all handled in such an undignified manner. The Holy Father should have told his “handlers” to slow everything the hell down.

  23. Pingback: Fr Z on Catholics and the kissing of rings… or not. | Catholicism Pure & Simple

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