The Weirdest Stuff People Have Given the Pope
You wouldn’t wanna be the Pope. To millions of people, he’s God’s representative on Earth. Every day, thousands gather in Vatican City to try to catch a glimpse of him, often as part of a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage. That’s a lot of pressure. What if you just weren’t feeling it that day? What if you had uncontrollable flatulence that morning, or a boner so unshiftable it changed the whole shape of your robe? It’s hard work being that important to that many people.
It can be difficult being given stuff, too, and the Pope is given a lot of stuff. The current Pope has made it endlessly clear that he values humility over most other attributes, and doesn’t want a big load of gaudy shit (not his words). However, being Pope, he also lives in a mostly golden castle, so this message is sometimes lost. They’ve come up with an elegant enough solution to this imbalance — the Vatican auctions off most of the stuff he’s given, donating the money to charity. It often sells for much more than its catalog price as well, making giving it to the Pope an oddly efficient way of adding value to something. Again, he’s a fun guy to give stuff to!
One in a Bolivian
Visiting La Paz in 2015, Pope Francis was given a crucifix shaped like a hammer and sickle by Bolivian President Evo Morales. He looked horrified, but cheered up when given the follow-up gift: a hella cool sombrero.
It’s-a Me, LBJ!
In 1967, Lyndon B. Johnson made a semi-impromptu visit to the Vatican just before Christmas, so he needed a kick-ass gift for Pope Paul VI. He had his people scrabble, and eventually presented the Pope with… a statue of LBJ himself.
Get Your Motor Running, Head Out on the Highway (to Heaven)
In 2017, Pope Francis was given a Bianco Monocerus-white Lamborghini Huracan by the car manufacturer. That’s a killer present by anyone’s standards, although the Pope does seem unlikely to push it to its full 186 mph limits.
Son of Nunarchy
In 2013, one of Francis’ first gifts was a dark brown Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide chopper, given to him by the motorcycle giant’s head honcho Willie G. Davidson. How could they not? They’d given Pope Benedict a similarly sick hog.
When Kentucky-based Papal Missionary of Mercy Father Jim Sichko was visiting the Vatican, he wanted to give the Pope something truly awesome. So, obviously, he had a pair of Nike Blazers customized to say “POPE” and “FRANCIS” on the back.
Good News, Pope, No Need to Hit the Grocery Store
Queen Elizabeth II was a Pope-meeting veteran, chilling with five pontiffs during her reign. When meeting Pope Francis, she brought a hamper of food grown on her estates, including a dozen eggs. The Pope doesn’t need eggs, you royal idiot!
What the Shell, Man?
In 2009, Pope Benedict traveled through Africa visiting several countries, and was given a tortoise in a basket before leaving Cameroon. He proceeded to leave it in Angola, his ungrateful Holiness.
The Elephant in the (Big Gold) Room
A blast from the past, now: When Pope Leo X was elected in 1513, Manuel I of Portugal sent him a white elephant named Annone. When the beloved “Hanno” died he was buried under the Vatican, where his remains… remain.
What the Puck, Man?
What does Pope Francis do in his customized Vancouver Canucks number 15 jersey, presented to him by a vacationing newlywed couple in? Hard to say, but he apparently said “Hockey! Yes, hockey!” when given it, which is cute.
Of Horse That’s What You’d Give Him!
In 1988, John Paul II visited the Ferrari factory and took a ride in a sweet Mondial convertible. Then he was given… a horse. Like the one in the Ferrari badge. A horse, that’s the vehicle you associate with Ferrari.
An NYC ID for JC’s BFF
The Pope was given an honorary New York ID card after a visit in 2015, a nice gesture, but one that arguably undermines the “God’s representative on Earth” idea. It also had an expiration date: 2020.
Hello, Pope, I’m Very Special
When Mark Zuckerberg met Pope Francis in 2015, he presented him with a model of Aquila, the solar-powered drone he was developing. Bit show-offy, Mark.
Leo’s Ass-Heavy Torture Album
Leonardo DiCaprio gave Pope Francis a book of Heironymous Bosch paintings depicting people being roasted in hell, playing music from notes inscribed on buttocks, being shot with arrows in their assholes and so on. Cheery stuff!
Makes Your Heart Dino-Soar
When Maltese President George Abela was granted an audience with Pope Francis, he brought along his grandchildren. They weren’t a gift for the Pope, of course — but Abela’s three-year-old grandson Luca gave Francis a plastic dinosaur. Awwwwww.