Pope's compassionate embrace for severely disfigured man
Pope Francis spends several minutes with man who suffers neurofibromatosis
Pictures: Catholic News Agency, Huffington Post
At the end of the Nov. 6 general audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis drew attention by warmly embracing a man who suffers from a rare disease causing neuronal tumors all over his body.
The man was identified as suffering from neurofibromatosis, which causes great pain and can result in impaired vision, learning impairnment, and even cancer, according to non-profit research group Mayo Clinic. Treatment of the condition is very complicated.
People with this disease – which is genetic and not contagious – often face discrimination because of their appearance.
As he carried out his typical greeting of pilgrims at the conclusion of the general audience, Pope Francis paused for several minutes to receive the sick man in his arms.
Moments later, he took the man’s face in his hands, kissed him, and gave him a blessing.
The gesture is the latest in a series of actions by the Holy Father that have drawn attention for their warmth and affection towards the marginalized in society. Previously, the Pope made headlines by visiting imprisoned youth, responding to letters with personal phone calls, and inviting the local homeless to dine at St. Peter’s Square.
Pastoral priorities set to train laypeople become more aware about their roles and responsibilities
Family that became Christians 18 years ago was under pressure from local Hindu leaders to give up their faith
Government needs to take action against perpetrators, they say
Thomas Aquino Legowo helped make Catholic Church’s stance on socio-politics clear, memorial service told
Screening of films celebrating her life begins in Kolkata just weeks before she is to be declared a saint