Pope Francis Blesses Harley-Davidsons

Pope Francis Harley Davidson

In what may have been one of the more unusual Papal audiences in some time, Pope Francis spent time with some men and their Harley’s today:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Biker culture came to the Vatican on Sunday as Pope Francis blessed thousands of Harley-Davidsons and their riders celebrating the manufacturer’s 110th anniversary with a loud parade and plenty of leather.

Thundering Harley engines nearly drowned out the Latin recitation of the “Our Father” prayer that accompanied Francis as he greeted the crowd before Mass. Standing in his open-top jeep, Francis drove up the main boulevard leading to St. Peter’s Square, blessing the thousands of people in what was a giant Harley parking lot.

Once the service got under way, bikers in their trademark leather Harley vests sat in the square alongside nuns and tens of thousands of faithful Catholics taking part in an unrelated, two-day pro-life rally.

Francis addressed them both afterward, giving a blessing to the “numerous participants” of the Harley gathering.

Tens of thousands of Harley owners from around the world descended on Rome for the four-day anniversary of the American manufacturer.

The main events were Sunday’s Vatican blessing and a parade Saturday past the Colosseum and other historic landmarks — adding color, traffic and noise to an already colorful day in downtown Rome, thanks to a gay pride march.

The Pope even got his own leather jacket and two bikes from the Harley-Davidson company:

Vatican Pope Harley Davidson


No word on whether he’ll be replacing the Pope Mobile with one of those bikes and updating the Papal garments.

Photos via The Atlantic Wire

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Paul Hooson says:

    Hey, this is my kind of Pope. Love my choppers, love this pope! – This Pope is one cool dude!

  2. michael reynolds says:

    I’m not a motorcycle person, and I’m an atheist, but if the Pope starts tooling around Rome on a Harley I will join the Roman Catholic church.

    I kind of like this guy. He seems like maybe not a complete aszhole.

  3. rudderpedals says:

    Crowds of Romans reportedly unhappy their Fiats were not blessed.

    Re the bikes, it was a choice. Blessings on the rack of Vespas or go b*lls out and stand with the bikers. Good choice. Cool pope.

  4. steve s says:

    Everybody who has ever ridden a harley with hearing-damage-loud pipes should pay an extortionarily high extra tax to pay for additional medical help for insomniacs, migraine sufferers, and people with stress disorders.

  5. murray says:

    As an agnostic atheist raised as a Roman Catholic I will remind you how “cool” it was at the time for many observers to discover that Karol Wojtyla loved amateur theater and was good on skis. A sure sign of “progress” no doubt. We all know how that turned out.

    The Jesuits, an order Pope Francis officially belongs to, usually do not seek promotion in the Catholic hierarchy. This one was elected Bishop then Cardinal then … Pope. You simply don’t climb that hierarchy unless you want to.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Pope, obviously enough, never drove under an overpass with a Harley riding next to his p/u. Fwck the pope. And fwck every Harley rider between here and Sturgis. Harleys suck donkey d1ck. Anyone who disagrees? Can suck on my…. Be nice Tom, you promised.

  7. anjin-san says:

    We all know how that turned out.

    In the end, not very pretty. But that’s how it often is in the end, no? I prefer to remember his role in the downfall of the Soviet Union and to keep in mind that he was not the same man after he was shot.

  8. Sam Malone says:

    Blessed or not…Harleys are still 50 year old technology…and they are pre-ordained to break.
    The beauty of Harley’s business model is that Americans love to play dress-up. Harley probably makes more money selling leather pants and “do-rags” to fat middle aged guys than they do selling motorcycles.
    Dis-claimer…I own two BMW’s.

  9. Pinky says:


    Crowds of Romans reportedly unhappy their Fiats were not blessed.

    Fiats require more than a blessing. An exorcism maybe.