Vatican not taking any chances… Peace Doves attacked two years in a row!
Vatican releases balloons instead of doves as symbol of peace after birds were savaged by crow
- Doves are traditionally released in St Peter’s Square at the end of January
- But last year the two birds were attacked by a crow and a seagull
- At today’s ceremony children released balloons into the sky instead
Dozens of balloons were released at the Vatican as a sign of peace today – a year after two doves were viciously attacked by other birds at the same ceremony. The bloody conclusion to the peace service in 2014 appears to have forced the Pope’s officials to cancel the tradition, replacing the age-old symbols with a more modern alternative.
Animal welfare groups were outraged by last year’s disaster – claiming the Vatican did not do enough to protect the doves used during the ceremony.
After today’s weekly service, children joined the Pope at the window of his studio overlooking St Peter’s Square and released a large bunch of balloons.
Francis said, ‘Here’s the balloons that mean peace,’ as the youngsters let go of the colorful toys. One of the balloons was filled with hot air and contained messages promoting global peace, while a child read out a speech on the same theme. The Vatican announced last week that balloons would replace doves for this year’s ceremony, but did not explain the reasons behind the switch.
Pope John Paul II started the tradition of releasing doves on the last Sunday of January every year, as the first month is traditionally dedicated to the Catholic Church’s message of peace. But the ceremony became controversial last year, after the pair of doves were set upon by a crow and a seagull to the shock of thousands of onlookers. The two birds apparently escaped – but still aroused the fury of animal rights activists, who claimed that the Vatican should have anticipated the likelihood of the doves getting in trouble. St Peter’s Square has a large population of gulls living on its colonnade – one group said that taking a smaller bird into the square was equivalent to issuing a death sentence.
They appealed directly to the Pope, pointing out that he chose the name Francis after the patron saint of animals, Francis of Assisi.
Earlier this week, the pontiff courted controversy when he appeared to criticize the murdered journalists of Charlie Hebdo, saying that freedom of speech should not extend to the mockery of religion.
He insisted that people ‘cannot insult the faith of others’, adding that he would punch someone if they offended his mother.
Source: Daily Mail
Related: The Vatican was not taking any chances for strike three. The old saying bad luck comes in three’s…
Pope Francis’ peace doves attacked at Vatican… Again? This happened last year too! Exactly one year ago with Pope Benedict XVI. A Sign of the Times!!