Pope Francis lets people kiss his ring again after pulling hand away from pilgrims

VATICAN CITY (CBS News) — Pope Francis has allowed nuns and priests to kiss his papal ring during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square, two days after a video showing him pulling his hand away from several faithful drew criticism.

Some conservative critics of the pope feel Francis was abandoning church doctrine and tradition, and seized on him withdrawing his hand as evidence of him shunning age-old traditions.

But many said the video clip did not give the full picture.

During a visit Monday to Loreto, a major Italian pilgrimage site, Francis received a long line of faithful, some of whom kissed his hand. He only began withdrawing his hand after having greeted many people.

Francis on Wednesday allowed nuns and priests to kiss his hand during his general audience.

LifeSiteNews, a conservative website often critical of Pope Francis, said it was “disturbing” that he had withdrawn his hand earlier in the week.

But the Reuters news agency said other Vatican observers were quick to note that even Pope Benedict, Francis’ predecessor who was considered a far more tradition and conservative leader of the church, and John Paul before him, preferred not to have their hands or rings kissed sometimes.

“Sometimes he likes it, sometimes he does not. It’s really as simple as that,” a close aide to the pope told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

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