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Pope explains reluctant ring kiss: fear of spreading germs

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AP Vatican City
Pope Francis has set the record straight about why he pulled his hand away when throngs of people lined up this week to kiss his ring: for fear of spreading germs.
Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said Thursday that Francis was concerned about hygiene when, after greeting throngs of well-wishers in a lengthy receiving line Monday in Loreto, he began pulling his hand away to discourage people from kissing his ring and spreading germs to others.
Video of the incident went viral, with conservative critics blasting what they said was Francis' disrespect for the tradition.
Gisotti said Thursday it was nothing of the sort.
He noted that Francis is more than happy to receive the greeting in small groups, as he did Wednesday when plenty kissed his ring during his general audience.

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First Published: Mar 28 2019 | 6:16 PM IST

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