Why Catholics Kiss the Ring of Pope, Cardinals or Bishops




Since the early days of the catholic Church, the faithful have always kneeled and kissed the ring of the Church authorities. This traditional courtesy reflects the beliefs that:

i. the Pope who is the apostolic successor of the Church instituted by Jesus on earth;

ii. the Cardinals who are Princes of the Church; and

iii. the Bishops who are the local Shepherds of the Church, appointed by the Pope himself,

are all priests through who Jesus Christ manifest Himself to lead His Church. By kneeling before these Christ chosen representives and kissing their rings, (the symbol of authority), one acknowledges their appointments by Christ Himself and show respect to Jesus who dwells in them. This symbolic gesture of respect toward an authority is no different than when Americans rise when their President enter a room, or when the British rise when the Queen of England enters a room, or when those present rise when a Judge enters the Court Room, or when the Head of any State enters a room.

Source: http://www.catholicdoors.com/faq/qu472.htm





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7 comments

  1. Franklin P. Uroda Reply

    IMO, ring-kissing is a symbol of subserviance and subjugation. Throughout the world-with some exceptions-the common way of greeting a person is by a handshake. The symbolism is that of openness and acceptance. I’ve noticed that bishops are increasingly not extending their ring to be kissed. Foot-kissing (thank God) as a symbol of obeisance has gotten the boot (except on Holy Thursday).

  2. Mary Reply

    Kissing the ring of the Pope, bishop or a priest is not a sign of subservience Franklin. It is a sign of respect! Respect for Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. in Luke 5:8, when Peter first encountered Christ, he fell to his knees, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

  3. Carmela Reply

    Wonder people ask these silly questions. these symbols are related with Religious point, who we are to questions. in all the religions some or the other symbols are there to pay respect to God, Almighty. why we
    don’t leave the world to follow their own religion. May God help these kinds of idiots.

  4. Keith Reply

    We can’t just “leave the world to follow their own religion” unless we think it is perfectly fine to kill minorities, to subjugate women and children, and, in some cases, destroy anyone whose religion is different from ours. By your logic, you would be fine with Muslims killing you for your religious views. Carmela, don’t call anyone else an idiot until you look in the mirror and learn to think!

  5. Robert K. Reply

    Rings of bishops as well as boots of pope in past times used to have relics of the Saints and that’s another reason people used to kiss them and not as a sign of mere submission to the authority.

  6. Agyenim Boateng Abraham Reply

    l am proud as Catholic

  7. Joby P Reply

    Additional info on this. It is recommended that we use the right knee to genuflect before a tabernacle that has the Holy Eucharist in it; and the left knee to kneel while kissing the ring of the pope, cardinal, or bishop. In a way it is to “reserve” the right knee specifically for God alone (the way we don’t use the chalice for anything else except for Christ’s blood.) Also, we don’t need to kiss every cardinal or bishop’s ring — just those whose diocese you belong to; after all it is a sign of loyalty.

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