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A circus tent and worker in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, at the end of an audience Pope Benedict XVI earlier granted to circus artists and workers. Benedict clapped and watched amused as circus workers flipped, flopped, juggled and twisted before him in what the Vatican has called a historic audience to make street performers and other itinerant entertainers feel like they belong to the church. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

A circus tent and worker in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, at the end of an audience Pope Benedict XVI earlier granted to circus artists and workers. Benedict clapped and watched amused as circus workers flipped, flopped, juggled and twisted before him in what the Vatican has called a historic audience to make street performers and other itinerant entertainers feel like they belong to the church. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope greets circus performers at Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI

greeted thousands of clowns, acrobats, puppeteers and even a pair of

lion cubs on Dec. 1 as the circus came to town for an unusual papal

performance.