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Pope Francis is shown a leather jacket by Harley-Davidson senior vice-president Mark Hans-Richer, at the Vatican, during the "Blessing of the Motorbikes".
Rome: If there is anything guaranteed to dispel the last traces of Harley-Davidson's one-time bad-boy image, it is a blessing from the Pope.
Pope Francis performed a "Blessing of the Motorbikes" on Wednesday for thousands of Harley-Davidson owners who gathered at St Peter's Square outside the Vatican to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the Milwaukee brand.
He blessed 1400 motorcycles, which were once the favoured ride of the Hells Angels. The pontiff was presented with two gleaming models of the classic motorcycle and a black leather biker jacket by Mark-Hans Richer, Harley-Davidson's senior vice-president.
High on the hog: The pontiff is presented with a painting of a motorcycle in Saint Peter's Square. Photo: OSSERVATORE ROMANO
But there was no sign that he was prepared to swap his Popemobile and robes for a motorcycle and leathers as he refrained from trying out the gifts.
Earlier, the Pope denounced the "deplorable" phenomenon of child labour in front of a 60,000-strong crowd gathered for his weekly address. In a message to mark the World Day Against Child Labour, he called for more international action to tackle the "plague" of child exploitation.
"All children should be able to play, study, pray and grow in their own families, in a harmonious environment, one of love and serenity," he said.
The Telegraph, London