The mainstream media has a short memory when it comes to seagulls attacking doves set free from the Vatican balcony.
seagull and a large black crow which immediately went in for the kill
when the doves were set free from an open window of the Apostolic Palace
in Rome last Sunday had an audience of thousands of people watching in St.
The two white doves were released as a peace gesture by children standing with Pope Francis.
“One dove lost some feathers as it broke free from the gull. But the
crow pecked repeatedly at the other dove. It was not clear what
happened to the doves as they flew off.” (Daily Mail, January 26, 2014).
Some saw the event as a harbinger of dark times to come.
But exactly the same fate was dealt to a dove released by Pope Benedict XVI almost a year to the day on Jan. 27, 2013.
that occasion, a scavenger seagull, media-described as a Vatican
“resident” swooped in and attacked the dove as soon as Pope Benedict
released it from the Vatican balcony.
“Watched by thousands of pilgrims below the fearsome gull, leading
with its beak, chased and harried the terrified dove as it tried to
escape among the ancient pillars and porticos.” (Daily Mail, Jan. 27,
Doves released by children with pontiffs have twice tried getting
back inside at the moment of their release. In 2012, the two doves
released turned tail and flew straight back in through the open window.
“They want to stay in the Pope’s home,’ Benedict had said.”
Last year’s dove attacked by a seagull made good on its escape.
On Jan. 30, 2005, Pope John Paul II had to actually shoo a dove out
of his apartment window, chuckling along with children who watched in
delight as the bird flew back into his room overlooking St. Peter’s
The pontiff, who died only months later, had been addressing thousands of young people from an Italian Catholic organization.
John Paul came to his studio window flanked by an 8-year-old boy and
an 8-year-old girl, who wanted the world to remember children in
countries plagued by war.
Each 8-year-old lifted a white dove into the air, but the birds, almost immediately darted back into his studio.
Laughing, the 84-year-old ailing pontiff decided to give it another
try. Grabbing one of the doves as an aide returned the birds to the
window sill, he shooed it out of the window, before affectionately
patting the boy on the head.
But after the quickest flight over the square in full view of the crowd, the bird returned inside again as the pope grinned.
January is the traditional month when peace is promoted by the Vatican.
The ritual of setting doves free from the balcony in the month of
January to mark world peace originated with Pope John Paul II in 2005.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what
you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will
put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into
barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more
value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour
to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider
the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I
tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of