Francis embraces severely disfigured man

Man with tumour

At the end of the November 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 tumours all over his body, reports 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 sick man in his arms.

Moments later, he took the man’s face in his hands, kissed him, and gave him a blessing.

FULL STORYPope Francis embraces man with tumorous disease