According to the Catholic News Agency, 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 afflicted man in his arms.
Moments later, he took the man’s face in his hands, kissed him, and gave him a blessing. (More pics here).
Said the CNA:
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.
We now wait with bated breathe to see whether the papal kiss with deliver a cure. If it does, I’llc lose down this blog, fall to my knees and beg forgiveness for the 54 years that I’ve attacked religion.