Following Dove Disaster, Pope Blesses Sinner's Parrot

VATICAN CITY—Wednesday, mere days after an embarrassing papal snafu when doves released into St. Peter's Square by children standing next to Pope Francis were immediately set upon by a hungry seagull and crow (perhaps managing to escape), the Pontiff tried once again to get it right with the birds.

According to ANSA, "Pope Francis blessed and took into his hands a green parrot that belonged to a former male stripper during his general audience on Wednesday. The parrot's owner thought it best to admit he was the bird's proud father after press reports saying it belonged to a traveling circus from northern Italy."

The well-known former stripper, Francesco Lombardi, who performed as Ghyblj, said of his parrot—named Amore, of course—being on the receiving end of a papal blessing, "It was fun, a sort of mixing of the holy and the profane. I am a world champion stripper and have the leading role in (erotic filmmaker) Tinto Brass's next movie."

Now that's smart marketing. But Lombardi, who brought his wife, two daughters and Amore to the Pope's general audience, also seemed truly moved by the experience, telling ANSA, "Pope Francis, who I am in love with, called it 'a beautiful gift from God.'"

Photo: A keen-eyed gull watches over the Vatican airspace.