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Pope's peace doves attacked
January 27th, 2014
12:40 PM ET

Angry birds! Pope's peace doves attacked

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) Talk about your angry birds.

A crow and a seagull attacked two white doves released by children standing next to Pope Francis on Sunday at St. Peter's Square. The birds of prey swooped down after the "peace" doves flew from the open window in the Apostolic Palace.

One dove broke free from the gull, after losing a few feathers in the fray. A crow pecked the other before both doves escaped and flew away. Their ultimate fate is unknown.

Thankfully, the Pope and children had walked away before the fly-by birding.

Doves as Judeo-Christian symbols of peace date back to biblical times. In the Book of Genesis, a dove returns to the ark-maker Noah with an olive branch, letting him know that the flood had receded.

In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit descends "like a dove" on Jesus after his baptism, according to the Gospel of Matthew. Centuries of Christian art thereafter have use doves to symbolize the third member of the Holy Trinity, along with God and Jesus.

Just before releasing the doves, the Pope had offered prayers for Ukraine, the site of pitched civil strife, and some say the dove-attack portends poorly for Eastern European nation.

Others took a more humorous approach.

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.