Pope blesses Harley Davidson bikers in St Peter's Square

Hundreds of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts from all over the world received the pope's blessing in St Peter's Square yesterday, according to an AFP report on the ABC.

Pope Francis, riding through the throngs aboard his popemobile, made the sign of the cross toward the bikers, who are in Rome as part of the European celebrations of Harley Davidson's 110th anniversary.

The pontiff, who accepted two Harley Davidsons and a jacket from the bikers on Wednesday, addressed them again during his weekly Angelus prayer. "I greet the many participants in the Harley-Davidson motorcycle assembly," he said.

Some 35,000 bikers had gathered in the Italian capital by Friday, enjoying rock concerts by artists such as Adam Ant and Bonnie Tyler at Ostia beach outside Rome as well as taking part in a parade. The celebrations were dampened by an accident on Saturday involving two cars and six bikes that left eight bikers injured, one seriously.

In Sunday's mass, the 76-year-old addressed a crowd that numbered around 100,000.

"All too often, people do not choose life, they do not accept the 'Gospel of Life' but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life," he said.

The Pope said instead, they are "dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others".

FULL COVERAGE

Francis blesses Harley Davidson bikers in St Peter's Square (ABC)

Pope's friendliness impresses Harley Davidson crowd (CNA)

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