(AMP) VATICAN CITY – Consuming a record 87 pancakes in under 20 minutes, Pope Francis has retained his championship title for the fourth year in a row at the annual Shrove Tuesday pancake eating contest and papal mass.
“The Holy Spirit was with me,” said a gorged Pope Francis addressing the crowd of thousands who made the pilgrimage to witness the highest man in the Catholic church pack away pancake after pancake like it was nothing.
“In these times we should think of those around the world who are without food.”
Catholics celebrate Shrove Tuesday, or “pancake Tuesday”, as one last caloric binge before Lent, where worshippers give up one of their vices for a month before Easter. The Vatican’s annual pancake eating contest was started by the aging Pope John Paul II in 2002 who ate 37 pancakes, coming in second place to Takeru Kobayashi who consumed 79 pancakes.
Competitive eating fans and Catholics world-wide await Pope Francis’ performance at this year’s upcoming Easter egg eating contest. Last Easter the Pontiff swallowed 135 hard boiled eggs in just 8 minutes, 6 shy of the 141 world record held by Joey Chestnut. Sources close to the Pope say he’s been training daily by chugging buckets of Holy water to expand his stomach and loosen his gag reflex.
Controversy still surrounds the Vatican’s recent practice of programming eating contests during Catholic holidays, as women are still barred from participating. Pope Francis did however take time today to thank the nuns who made all the pancakes.
At press time, Pope Benedict XVI was forced out of the contest after being caught trying to transubstantiate the pancakes out of him.