Pope Francis blesses former male stripper's parrot

Jan. 29, 2014 at 2:26 PM

VATICAN CITY, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A former male stripper turned erotic film actor said Pope Francis blessed his parrot during his general audience in Vatican City.

Francesco Lombardi, who uses the stage name Ghyblj, said he decided to come forward as the owner of the parrot blessed by the pope during his general audience Wednesday after hearing news reports suggesting the bird belonged to a traveling circus, ANSA reported Wednesday.

"It was fun," Lombardi said of meeting the pope. "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."

Lombardi said he traveled from his home town of Trezzano, near Milan, with his wife, two daughters and their parrot, named Amore, the Italian word for "love."

He said the pope was impressed with his parrot.

"Pope Francis, who I am in love with," he said, "called it 'a beautiful gift from God.'"

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