File this information under things we didn’t previously know about Pope Francis: the man’s got balls of steel.
It’s common knowledge Pope Francis is the coolest Pope to ever rule the Vatican — he’s got one lung and still makes time to take trips to America, hang out with celebrities and presidential candidates, keep his social media game strong and work on his rock album — but we now know Pope Francis isn’t afraid to tangle with Big Cats.
Exhibit A: The Pope welcomed travelling performers to the Vatican this week as part of a jubilee celebrating circus workers, clowns, musicians and other travelling show people. Francis made all of the expected speeches, noting how the performers open their shows “to the most needy, the poor and the homeless, prisoners and disadvantaged kids,” and commending them for sowing “beauty and joy in a world sometimes gloomy and sad.”
Then came the main event. A tamer invited the Pope to pet one of the circus tiger cubs. Obviously, the thought of coming in close proximity to a large, powerful animal with razor-sharp claws and teeth that can rip right through human flesh would be a bit nerve-wracking for anyone, especially the leader of the Catholic Church. (The guy’s almost 80 years-old. He doesn’t need this added stress.)
But Francis took the challenge like a champ. Here’s how everything went down:
First, Francis sizes up his striped opponent.
[protected-iframe id=”66ae5768fb0baab5efef97ab1a1d020d-60970621-34435829″ info=”//giphy.com/embed/sGbw20EVtLYR2″ width=”480″ height=”262″ frameborder=”0″ class=”giphy-embed” allowfullscreen=””]
Oh look, how cute. He’s still eating from the bottle.
[protected-iframe id=”3b2aa43d345cf1afa477fe2b7d77e3b6-60970621-34435829″ info=”//giphy.com/embed/ikAWo2GHFKF4A” width=”480″ height=”262″ frameborder=”0″ class=”giphy-embed” allowfullscreen=””]
The Pope casually strolls over to the baby tiger, reaches down to gently caress his head. This is where things go horribly wrong.
[protected-iframe id=”263a02e594826eaf3250c1204a75beb1-60970621-34435829″ info=”//giphy.com/embed/KMl6XbqT07USA” width=”480″ height=”262″ frameborder=”0″ class=”giphy-embed” allowfullscreen=””]
Apparently, no one told Francis the correct way to stroke the animal because baby tiger is having now of this head action. (Get your mind out of the gutter people.)
[protected-iframe id=”e931f9f15960849b3e73142fdfb06b4f-60970621-34435829″ info=”//giphy.com/embed/11cECap0oFG74I” width=”480″ height=”262″ frameborder=”0″ class=”giphy-embed” allowfullscreen=””]
Francis re-groups; waits for the tiger to calm the f*ck down.
[protected-iframe id=”ff389906341e8de30acfef56c2c47f0c-60970621-34435829″ info=”//giphy.com/embed/IfYcMkkddhy3m” width=”480″ height=”262″ frameborder=”0″ class=”giphy-embed” allowfullscreen=””]
He goes in for more petting. Obviously the tiger’s still not feeling it but hey, he’s getting bottle-fed so he’ll deal with this creepy old dude in a white suit touching his fur for a bit.
[protected-iframe id=”8c4438798c91778949ed71f57abb7d6b-60970621-34435829″ info=”//giphy.com/embed/EzOhvAcLfxw1W” width=”480″ height=”262″ frameborder=”0″ class=”giphy-embed” allowfullscreen=””]
And there you have it. Props to Pope Francis for keeping his cool, though at his age, he should know better than to startle a wild animal.
Via ABC News