LAST week the Irish Independent reported that Pope Frankie performed a “Blessing of the Motorbikes” for hundreds of Harley-Davidson owners who gathered at St Peter’s Square to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the brand.
He blessed 1,400 bikes and was presented with two gleaming models and a black leather biker jacket by Mark-Hans Richer, Harley-Davidson’s Senior VP, but he bottled out from testing the gifts.
While this went down well with the “hog” owners who converged on the Vatican, the Italian consumer association, Codacons, said it would file a complaint against the event’s organisers, and blasted the Pope for giving the company free publicity.
Since it was a marketing event, the pontiff would have done well to avoid giving free advertising to a well-known brand, especially considering the damage done to the city and its inhabitants.
This referred to the fact that a 40-km (25-mile), three-day Harley-Davidson rally that took place from the port city of Ostia through central Rome annoyed some residents who complained about the traffic and noise.
To make matters worse, ten bikes were involved in a serious prang on the capital’s ring road. Not sure whether this happened before or after the papal blessing.