“The Pope’s hands are so soft … Soft and beautiful. And his smile clear and open. But the thing that struck me the most is that he didn’t make a decision about whether to hug me or not. I’m not contagious, but he didn’t know that. He just did it and that was that: he caressed me”

– Vinicio Riva, the man with neurofibromatosis who was embraced by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square, quoted by Italy’s Panorama news magazine after a photo of the encounter went viral.

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