You can’t make up a headline like this.
Pro-animal groups appeal to pope over dove attack
ROME — Animal rights groups on Monday appealed to Pope Francis to end the practice of releasing doves from a Vatican window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, a day after a pair of the peace symbols were attacked by a seagull and crow while a crowd including thousands of children watched below.
The National Animal Protection Agency published an open letter Monday reminding Francis that domesticated doves are easy prey for predators like gulls. [I say... KILL THE GULLS. The damned flying vermin kept me awake for years in Rome. Rats with wings.]
Gulls nest atop the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square, near the Tiber River, and scavenge for garbage in Rome. The animal protection agency, known as ENPA, said freeing doves in Rome is like “condemning them to certain death.” [Death to gulls.]
“Animals born in captivity, not being wild animals, aren’t able to recognize predators as such and are thus incapable of fleeing from possible dangerous situations,” ENPA said, adding it was launching a signature petition to garner the pope’s attention.
An umbrella group of animal rights advocates, the Italian Federation of Animal and Environment Rights Associations, carried a text of the letter on its website.
The two doves tossed into the air by two children flanking the pope at an open window of the Apostolic Palace Sunday didn’t go far, landing at first on ledges of the building. In separate dives, first a seagull and then a large black grow swept down and grabbed a dove by the tail. Feathers fluttered over the square but the doves shook off their attackers. It wasn’t clear what then happened to the birds.
The Vatican earlier Monday didn’t reply to an AP query about whether it might abandon the practice.
Pope John Paul II began the dove releases as a symbol of peace. Since then, children from an Italian Catholic group have been invited to join popes at the window overlooking the square for the dove release, which takes place the last Sunday in January. Sunday wasn’t the first time a dove was attacked by a seagull after a release.
This story has some legs, I guess.
I received one message from a smart friend who wrote:
The whole incident on Sunday was allegorical. Pope of Peace launches dove symbolizing Vatican’s idealistic (ideological?), clichè-ridden peace teachings (“jamais plus la guerre”), meanwile a sea gull and a crow make short shrift of the dove, symbolizing the Real World.
All this right in front of the Pope of Peace. And thousands of Catholics. And live on TV.
By the way… I contend that it was one of these stupid dove release stunts that finally did in John Paul II. In his weakened state he did one of these dopey things on a cold day and was never the same again. That was the beginning of his end.
The article continued:
ENPA’s open letter to Francis noted that the pontiff is writing an encyclical, a formal church document, on ecology. “We know that the pontiff said he was sensitive to protecting the environment and the creatures that share it with us,” the animal protection organization said.
In solidarity with the environmentalists, I call on Francis to go green, reduce his carbon footprint, and use the sedia gestatory, just like his fluffy predecessor, the People’s Pope, the Good Pope, soon-to-be-Saint John XXIII.
It had to happen….
More photos at WaPo, including: