Pope pulls back from ring-kissers

A new video suggests that Pope Francis wants no part of the ring-kissing tradition.

The Pope was greeting worshippers at the Italian pilgrimage site dedicated to the Virgin Mary at Loreto on Monday when he was seen flinching as the faithful attempted to perform a traditional sign of respect.

After the footage was shared on social media, a Vatican aide said he had been "amused" by all the reaction, adding of the ring kissing: "Sometimes he likes it, sometimes he does not. It's really as simple as that."

Papal biographer Austen Ivereigh, a supporter of Francis, tweeted: "He's making sure that they engage with him, not treat him like a sacred relic. He's the Vicar of Christ, not a Roman emperor."