Vatican deploys balloons as new peace symbol a year after bird attack on released doves - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Partly Cloudy
1.5°C

Vatican deploys balloons as new peace symbol a year after bird attack on released doves

FILE - In this , Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 file photo, a dove which was freed by children with Pope Francis during his Angelus prayer, is attacked by a black crow in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican. Balloons, not doves, were released as peace symbols Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 in St. Peter's Square, a year after an attack by a seagull and a crow on the symbolic birds sparked protests by animal rights groups. For years, children, flanking the pope at a window of the papal studio overlooking the square, have released a pair of doves on the last Sunday in January, a month the Catholic church traditionally dedicates to peace themes. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)
January 25, 2015 - 7:53 AM

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.

___

Follow Frances D'Emilio on twitter at www.twitter.com/fdemilio

News from © The Associated Press, 2015
The Associated Press

  • Popular kamloops News
  • Comments
  • Pier 1 closing all of its stores in Canada
    Pier 1 Imports, Inc. announced today that it has entered into bankruptcy protection and is pursuing a sale. The retailer  commenced voluntary Chapter 11 proceedings in the U.S. Bankrupt
  • Vernon's Atlantis waterpark gets a new name
    A popular Vernon waterpark is starting its transformation with a new name. Formerly known as Atlantis Waterslides, the waterpark, located north of the city along Highway 97, has been renamed
  • Killing of 7-year-old girl stokes anger in Mexico
    MEXICO CITY - The killing of a 7-year-old girl on the southern outskirts of Mexico City has stoked rising anger over brutal slayings of women, including one found stabbed to death and skinned earl
  • Mammoth's tooth found in Williams Lake and preserved for decades by B.C. family
    What was once part of a mammoth-sized smile now is a very old conversation starter in Bryan Johnson's Vancouver home. Johnson's stepfather found a mammoth tooth in a creek at the sou
  • Vernon family captures mesmerizing melting ice
    A Vernon family was on their way home from Kelowna when they made a pit stop after noticing a beautiful scene along Wood Lake. Matthew Royal and his daughters noticed how “cool”
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile