Joe Biden wouldn't kiss the pope's ring simply because of something his mother told him years ago. This is the same reason that he didn't kiss the Queen of England's ring when he was introduced to her as a young senator, he was following his mother's wishes.
According to Yahoo News on March 21, 2013, Biden's mother gave him words of wisdom, which was not to kiss the ring, before meeting the Queen and then again before meeting the pope. His father said it was a matter of dignity.
The Vice President was brought up in an Irish-Catholic family, so some might expect for him to follow the tradition of kissing the pope's ring when meeting him, but he didn't. Biden's mother taught him that no one is better than he is and while treating everyone with respect, there's no need to kiss someone's ring.
Biden shared his mother and father's words with a group of Irish-Americans in New York City on Thursday. He told them about the call from his mother right before he was due to meet the Queen.
His mother also said while treating people with respect, you should also demand respect. Apparently bending down and puckering up to kiss a ring on another human beings hand seemed a bit demeaning to Biden's mom and undoubtedly, she's not alone.
According to The Hill, when the Vice President met Pope Francis on Tuesday during his formal installation, he shook his hand.