The holy feather... a bird in hand for Pope as circus rolls up at Vatican
The Pope received an unusual pilgrim during his weekly audience at the Vatican yesterday in the shape of a white cockatoo.
The bird was presented to the pontiff by a performer dressed as a pirate after the Golden Circus Festival group was invited to Paul VI Hall.
It is not the first time the Pope has encountered a parrot. In 2014 he blessed a green one belonging to a former male stripper.
Also entertaining the crowds after Christmas was a clown performing balloon tricks who delivered a green and red cross to the Pope.
Next, the pontiff looked on as a magician made a table float in mid-air in front of him.
The fun took place the day after the Chinese head of religious affairs said the Vatican should take steps to improve relations with the country. Francis is trying to heal a decades-old rift with China, where Catholics are divided between those loyal to him and those who are members of a Government-controlled official church.