Why Are These Men Slowly Stripping for the Pope?

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A standard weekly papal audience got weird this week when a troupe of acrobats in snug white pants and jackets approached Pope Benedict XVI and ... stripped themselves shirtless. Then they performed a brief but sensual feat of strength, while the synth chords of some ELO knockoff band blasted through the hall.

The pope seemed to enjoy the encounter well enough. But the cardinals behind him couldn't contain themselves: Watch as they burst into spontaneous applause.

[via Andrew Sullivan/Atlantic]