With apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien…

One Ring to Fool them All:
Francis and the Kissing of the Piscatory Ring

The Argentinian apostate Jorge Bergoglio proved himself to be the lord of the ring this past Monday, Mar. 25, in Loreto, Italy, where he visited the Basilica della Santa Casa (Basilica of the Holy House) for the Feast of the Annunciation.

After the Novus Ordo worship service, Francis received clergy and laity, who were lined up to greet him one by one, many of whom kissed his hand and/or his ring (the so-called “Ring of the Fisherman” or “Piscatory Ring”). After about ten minutes, Francis suddenly began to withdraw his hand everytime someone tried to kiss it or the ring. This went on for about 55 seconds, after which he resumed letting people kiss his hand/ring again.

Predictably, this bizarre spectacle has gained the attention of the media, both Novus Ordo and secular. The people who bent down to kiss Bergoglio’s hand were effectively humiliated as the man they thought was the Pope of the Catholic Church suddenly withdrew it without warning. Some of them ended up unwittingly kissing their own hands, but all of them ended up being made to look like fools, so much so that the clip might be a good candidate for America’s Funniest Home Videos.

In the full video provided by Vatican Media, the fun begins at the 1:00:57 timestamp. Take a look:

Since then, people have been wondering about the bizarre behavior of the “Pope”.

Inside the Vatican‘s editor-in-chief, Robert Moynihan, tried to give some perspective to the whole thing and warned against the selective editing of some of the video clips floating around the net. He summarized his conclusions thus:

…Francis did pull back his hand from several people, but only during 53 seconds of the 13 minutes of receiving, greeting and embracing people. During the other 12 minutes, he made no objection to the attempts of dozens of faithful to kiss his ring.

So: the incident did indeed occur, but it has been presented in a tendentious way, making it appear more awkward and “impolite” on the part of the Pope than it was.

No official explanation has been given for why the Pope acted in this way.

(Robert Moynihan, “Letter #14, 2019: The Ring – Tendentious Interpretations?”, Inside the Vatican, Mar. 27, 2019)

That was on Wednesday. But since then, Francis has explained his behavior, and more than once.

First, he did so through this press secretary, Alessandro Gisotti:

The mystery of why Pope Francis repeatedly withdrew his right hand as a long line of people bowed and tried to kiss it this week has been resolved – he did not want to spread germs.

“It was a simple question of hygiene,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told reporters on Thursday after he asked the pope directly.

Gisotti explained that there were many people in line and the pope did want to spread germs as one person after another repeatedly kissed his hand at short intervals.

(Philip Pullella, “It was getting out of hand – Pope explains ring kissing mystery“, Reuters, Mar. 28, 2019)

Second, he did so today on the flight to Rabat, Morocco (where he is currently on a blather tour), after being asked about it by NBC News reporter Claudio Lavanga, who tweeted the video of his exchange with the pretend-pope:

In case the tweet won’t show, the text says: “On @pontifex flight to #Morocco, I pretended to withdraw my hand during the traditional handshake. Then asked why he withdrew his from the many faithful who tried to kiss his hand in #loreto Monday. @pontifex:because o hygene. my hand got wet, I didn’t want to start a contagion.”

If germs were the problem, or concern about getting people ill, Francis could simply have requested one of his many lackeys either to get his hand sanitized or else to let the people in line know that they were not to kiss his apostate hand. There is a tactful way to do things, and a tactless one. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Francis chose the latter.

Blogger Louie Verrecchio, meanwhile, produced the following hilarious video clip with the amusing title, Smell of the Sheep:

But tactful or not, sanitary or not, there is no doubt that Francis has enjoyed the attention he’s been getting over this. Mission accomplished: Once again the whole world is talking about him!

Alas, the one thing that really matters in this is what virtually nobody has talked about: that Francis has no right to be wearing that Fisherman’s Ring in the first place.

Image source: TGCOM24 (screenshot)
License: fair use

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