“Don’t bite!” Pope negotiates papal kiss after controversy


Pope Francis salutes the faithful at the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has cautiously waded back into the crowds after video of him slapping away the hand of an overly enthusiastic pilgrim went viral and sparked a papal apology.

Francis gingerly agreed to a nun’s request for a kiss on the cheek on Wednesday, but said he would only approach her if she didn’t bite.

The moment occurred as Francis entered the Vatican auditorium at the start of his weekly general audience.

Francis kept his distance when the sister first asked for a papal kiss, and then negotiated the terms: “I’ll give you a kiss, but keep calm. Don’t bite!” 

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(This story was originally published on January 8, 2020)

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