Why do people kiss the Pope's ring? do they do this for cardinals also or only the Pope?
It was customary since the early days of the catholic Church that the faithful would kneel and kiss the ring of the Church's representatives. This courtesy to the Pope reflects the beliefs that the Pope who is the successor of Peter who was tasked by Jesus to establish his Church on earth
The priests are the vessels through which Jesus Christ manifests himself to lead His Church. By kneeling before these chosen Representatives and kissing their rings, (the symbol of authority), the believer acknowledges that they were appointed by Jesus Himself and shows his adoration of Christ. This is a symbolic gesture of respect to an authority figure and it is no different really than when the British stand up when the Queen of England enters a room.
I heard that Joe Biden refused to kiss Pope Francis's ring but he is Catholic?
It is true that Vice President Biden did not kiss the Pope's ring. He did bow slightly to Pope Francis, however. Biden wrote in his autobiography, "Promises to Keep" that his mother once told him that nobody is better than he and that he should not kiss the Pope's ring. Kissing the ring of a pope or other prelate is not an obligation.
Not out of obligation should the faithful do so but out of fealty and loyalty. Politicians shouldn't be exempt from this practice. But this new generations faith is slowly disintegrating.
Perhaps all things 'customary' should be reassessed..
At our 50th Wedding Anniversary mass at St Patrick's Cathedral, I knelt and kissed Cardinal Dolan's ring. He hugged me and jokingly remarked to my husband that in 50 years I had probably never done that for my him! Perhaps the Cardinal was too humbled by my gesture but it was very amusing!
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