Another triumph for peace in our day

Huge progress has been made in the Vatican in the cause of peace!   In the wake of the planting of the peace tree (HERE) and the peace match (HERE), a bold new policy initiative will certain have a calming, peaceful effect on all onlookers, as well as the rights and feelings of Rome’s non-human citizens.

Via the Winnipeg Free Press:

dove crow

VATICAN CITY – Dove lovers, rejoice.
Balloons, not doves, were released as a gesture of peace Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, a year after an attack by a seagull and a crow on the symbolic birds sparked protests by animal protection groups.
For years children, flanking the pope at a window of the papal studio overlooking the square, set free a pair of doves on the last Sunday in January. The Catholic Church traditionally dedicates January to peace themes.
Last year, the feel-good practice became a public relations disaster. After the children with Pope Francis tossed a pair of doves from the window, first a seagull and then a crow swept down and attacked the doves. Those doves’ ultimate fate was unknown.
Advocates for animals demanding an end to dove releases swiftly appealed to Francis, the first pontiff to adopt the name of Francis of Assisi, the saint famed for his love for birds and other creatures of the wild.
“Here’s the balloons that mean, ‘peace,'” said Francis when children in the square let go of their balloons.
Gulls nest atop the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square, not far from the Tiber River, and scavenge for garbage. One animal advocacy group likened freeing doves in Rome to issuing a death sentence.
Another saint, Pope John Paul II, began the dove release tradition to draw attention to the need to work for peace in the world. Since then, children have been invited to join pontiffs at the window to release a pair of doves.
Until this year.
The Vatican didn’t mention last year’s flap when it said in a statement Sunday that children would release balloons, including a hot-air balloon containing messages of peace. One of the children at the window read a speech about peace.

The Vatican version of a hashtag.

Sylvia the Dove Defender

I wonder if animal rights activists will now take up the cause of Sylvia, the Sharris Hawk employed to protect all Vatican peace doves.  HERE  Pope Francis has been a staunch defender of the unemployed, calling unemployment one of most urgent problems of our time. HERE

This does raise another issue, however.

I am now deeply worried that the helium – itself a diminishing resource – in the balloons might contribute to global warming ooops … climate change.

The cause of world peace is really complicated.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. slainewe says:

    Catholic editorial cartoonists (if there is such a thing?) could have a field day with this one:

    Noah releasing a balloon from the ark; Saint Joseph presenting two balloons to Simeon; a balloon appearing over the Lord at His Baptism…

    (I mean no irreverence, Lord, but what else am I to think about this madness?)

  2. seattle_cdn says:

    Balloons have their own issues too – when they deflate and end up in the ocean, turtles eat them to fatal consequences. (serious).

  3. Lutgardis says:

    In all seriousness, balloon releases are also frowned upon as not being eco-friendly. Even “biodegradable” balloons pollute the Earth, and the rubber can choke and strangle wildlife both on land and on the sea.

    So, not a great alternative!

  4. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    Bad news for sea life… Why not fly a kite instead?

  5. DanW says:

    Perhaps next year instead of releasing all that latex into the environment, everyone could hold hands in a great circle around the obelisk in the center of St. Peter’s Square and sing Kumbaya!

  6. Legisperitus says:

    More hot air about peace.

  7. NBW says:

    Balloons…argh…I remember letting balloons go at our school’s outdoor Mass, a la Vatican II.

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    seattle_cdn, no worries, Sylvia the dove defender also does deflated-balloon-retrieval.

    Speaking of peace, I am reading The Lord of the World, one of Pope Francis’ favorite books. I already had it but had not gotten around to it till now. The Pope has said to read that book in order to understand him better and while not making everything crystal clear, it does actually help with that. You will NOT see the relationship of Pope Francis with progressivism and “the spirit of the world” the same way after reading this book but you may strongly suspect why he feels like he had better be gentle as a dove and sly as a fox. It’s also just a fantastic entertaining very Catholic book, and a quick read.

  9. jacobi says:

    Another example Father of a concession, small perhaps, but in the wrong direction, to outside secular pressure groups, in this case animal rights.
    The dove species has survived for aeons of time with its own defence mechanisms and they can look after themselves.

    What worries me more than the helium is the possibility of ingestion in a jet engine of an aircraft with 250 passengers on finals, or much more importantly, on full climb away.

    I wonder what the Italian Civil Aviation Authority think about this new practise?

  10. Rachel K says:

    Excuse me Fr Z, but isn’t Sylvia a Harris Hawk?

  11. Mojoron says:

    If the helium (He2) levels do get high, maybe the men at our church can sing with the cantor who often is two octaves above middle C. Right now, the only person who can keep up is the other cantor.

  12. ts says:

    This releasing of balloons seems to have the same gesture as tossing a coin into a fountain and making a wish. I spent some time thinking on this ‘peace’ topic years ago when I was a NO parishioner because the priest’s prayer at the end of the Our Father mentioned ‘peace’. It seems that we (all) want peace and so expect it to literally rain down on us. I thought long about it and where I ended up was…..MARY! Our Blessed Mother! She is our Peace! So, perhaps a plea for peace would be to ‘send up’ prayers through the Immaculate Heart of Mary and ask the Holy Spirit to breathe Life into us that is a new creation in and through our Lord Jesus Christ. No blood of doves, no latex in the oceans, no animal rights folks to ‘answer to’ and I believe, HIGHLY MORE EFFECTIVE!

  13. Gratias says:

    The Peace dove looked yummy. The crow probably did not fear this Pope.

  14. DeGaulle says:

    Have I missed the anti-condom protests from the animal rights crowd? They must be choking a lot of turtles.

  15. I suggest a huge bubble machine if they have to release something. :)

  16. pseudomodo says:

    I am releasing a roasted chicken into my mouth…along with some flat bread and mushroom risotto.

    I am at peace….

  17. The Masked Chicken says:

    What is it with the cannibalistic turn on this blog? Roasting chickens, chickens and carrots…doesn’t anyone eat cow, anymore or vegetables (okay, carrots, but with chicken…).

    The Chicken

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