The Pope blessed Harleys in Vatican City as thousands of riders celebrate Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary.
The anniversary celebrations have seen an estimated half-million Harley enthusiasts descend on Rome for the four-day celebration of the American bike manufacturer.
NBC News reports that the traditional “Our Father” prayer, recited in Latin, was drowned out by thousands of roaring Harleys in St. Peter’s square. The Pope then blessed the Harleys from his open-top jeep, which turned the square into a huge Harley-Davidson parking lot.
Thousands of faithful Catholics were engaged in a two-day, pro-life rally during the parade. Pope Francis blessed the participants of the rally after he blessed the Harleys and their riders, praying: “For every human life, especially the most fragile, defenseless and threatened.”
Even though the Pope blessed the Harleys, he stayed away from any polarizing comments regarding contraception or abortion.
There is something incongruous about the contrast between the Sunday mass and the hoards of roaring Harleys. Rev. Federico Lombardi, a spokesman for the Vatican, noted that there were a good number of Catholics in the Harley crowd and said: “I know great people who have big bikes.”
During the simultaneous events in the square, after the Pope blessed the Harleys and conducts mass, he turned his attention to people in the crowd. The Pope spent at least half an hour among the crowd after mass. He offered his blessings and prayers to about two-dozen disabled and sick people there including one on a Harley.
Just to add a little more to the mix (and the irony), there was a loud gay pride parade near the square. The parade ran at the same time as the other events in the busy city of Rome this weekend.
Do you think it’s fitting that the Pope blessed Harleys in Vatican City? Should a man in his position be seen to encourage the free thinking and pluralistic attitudes that come with the Harley-Davidson brand? Your comments below.