All Eyes photo gallery: That time the pope met a tiger (w/video)
Pope Francis petted a tiger Thursday during his audience with the "World of Travelling Shows."
The pontiff greeted circus workers, musicians, acrobats, clowns and other performers during the presentation that was part of his Year of Mercy. He also met a black panther cub and a bird of prey.
While petting the 6-month-old tiger, Francis said, "You can also frighten the pope. You are powerful!"
The pope said to the performers, “You enrich society in the whole world with these qualities, also with the ambition to stoke feelings of hope and trust.”
Francis also thanked his audience for taking their performances to the needy, including poor communities, the homeless, prisoners and disadvantaged youth.
“This is also mercy: sowing beauty and cheerfulness in a world which is at times dark and sad,” he said.