January 27th, 2014
12:40 PM ET

Angry birds! Pope's peace doves attacked

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(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 Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (986 Responses)
  1. Dandintac

    Is a couple of birds doing what comes natural really worthy of a CNN blog? The CNN Belief blog seems to be the propaganda wing of the Roman Catholic Church lately. Mostly it's been one article after another gushing over the new pope, with bits of fluff sprinkled here and there, like this useless story. Come on editors, you can do better than this!

    January 27, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
    • Simon Pater was the first Beast pope, not Simon Peter.

      ######$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ 🙂 🙂 $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      January 27, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
    • Boinky Benny

      In all fairness to the Blog editors, this idiotic story was carried by many if not most major news agencies. It certainly rates right up there with the very importnant story on the Pope giving his buddy a ride in his car story, also widely covered.

      But there is no denying that this Blog has been the "All Pope, All The Time" news outlet. Were I to venture a guess, I would say there is a good possibility one or both the co-editors are not only Catholic but major Francis fanboys. I mean seriously, they only put about one story in a day, and even a quick bit of googling can come up way more diversity than they are doing.

      So yeah, expect tomorrow's story to be "Pope Eats A Nice Sandwich, World Goes Ga-Ga!"

      January 27, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
  2. OldSchool

    Just a reminder of religion's irrelevance to nature.

    January 27, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
  3. trump

    "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."

    I say the dove-attack predicts the dow loosing 500 points tomorrow. Now CNN can report "SOME SAY that the dove-attack portends poorly for the Dow Jones Industrials."

    January 27, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
  4. Faith isn't a Preacher

    Symbolic of the current era attacks upon Christianity.

    The Crow of Islam.
    And the Seagull of Statism.

    January 27, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Odin has his birds: Huginn and Muninn.

      January 27, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
      • Sam Yaza

        could be the Morrigan

        January 28, 2014 at 12:17 am |
  5. anon

    Uh oh! better go see your local fortune teller, or witch doctor!

    January 27, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
    • Witch of Endor will move your endorphins.

      ###########$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ 🙂 🙂 🙂

      January 27, 2014 at 10:45 pm |
  6. svann

    Coming soon
    The Omen XXIV

    January 27, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
  7. Damien


    January 27, 2014 at 9:13 pm |


      January 27, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
  8. Paul

    It's a very sad omen. And the stupidity and rampant disrespectful posts even on this very article only underline it. To sense Omens one has to be somewhat subtle and from looking at this sound-off list I'm guessing that's going to be problem, lol. True story, I once prayed for a sign because I was thinking about relocating back east and all of a sudden (no joking) a beautiful white dove flew overhead and was instantly attacked and ripped apart by 2 crows blood and feathers everywhere. Never saw anything like it. But like most stupid Americans I said to myself "Ahh, we're in the modern era now". So I went on my trip anyhow. Pure defiance. WORST. EXPERIENCE. EVER. I almost died, car flew off of black ice in Virginia totalled. Ended up in Jail a few months later due to a bar fight. Couldn't find work, was homeless for awhile. Finally got back on my feet but whew maybe some omens are actually real.

    January 27, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Well you stuck your feet in the water so you shouldn't be surprised that you're going to get wet.

      "True story, I once prayed for a sign (yeah because we all know how useful that is) because I was thinking about relocating back east and all of a sudden (no joking) a beautiful white dove flew overhead and was instantly attacked and ripped apart by 2 crows blood and feathers everywhere (right...because predators attacking prey animals never happens). Never saw anything like it (missed all those National Geographic episodes did you?). But like most stupid Americans I said to myself "Ahh, we're in the modern era now". So I went on my trip anyhow. Pure defiance. WORST. EXPERIENCE. EVER. I almost died, car flew off of black ice in Virginia totalled.(couldn't be because you failed to adjust your driving to meet conditions) Ended up in Jail a few months later due to a bar fight (because clearly your dove incident failed to warn you that drunks can be idiots) . Couldn't find work (now that's a truly unique experience), was homeless for awhile."

      So clearly this litany of poor decisions and/or bad luck was completely avoidable if you had merely heeded the "omen" of the dove. Or are you just using this claimed omen as a scapegoat for your own irresponsibility.

      January 27, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
      • biggerdawg

        You clearly know nothing about Black Ice, so your expertise in any other area is suspect at best, however, in shreds would be the accurate description. Leave the way you came in.

        January 27, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
        • L

          That you found some sort of profundity in the original post makes YOUR post bereft of intelligence.

          January 27, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          Well lets test that shall we. Water freezes to form ice. If it's cold enough to freeze water then the possibility of black ice is warning enough to reduce speed. Black ice isn't black. It's a thin layer of ice on asphalt that looks like it's just wet. Bridges and overpasses normally freeze before roads on land because the ground acts like a heat sink...at least until frost sets in permanently for winter.
          I live in Canada and the beginning of winter creates black ice conditions every year. And every years idiots en mass fail to heed changing road conditions resulting in a major uptick in vehicular accidents. All preventable and all due to driver error.

          January 27, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
      • Ephraim Tekle

        Beautiful, just beautiful.

        January 27, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Got any black cat experiences?

      January 27, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
    • Boomerang


      And if you had stayed where you were, something equally as nasty might have happened to you and you would've said, "Gee, I should have followed that 'omen', which was *obviously* telling me to get away from here..."

      January 27, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
    • G to the T

      "To sense Omens one has to be somewhat subtle" LOL like what? Looking at them out of the corner of your eye?

      January 28, 2014 at 10:33 am |
  9. Boinky Ben

    Well I think it is time we all accept that Austin's prophecies are true, for 17 years ago he had a dream-vision of a Larry Byrd dropping a bar of Dove soap in the shower, and obviously it is a perfect match for this Vatican bird marvel.

    Just irrefutable evidence! Austin is the new Paul!

    January 27, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
    • Troll

      I read this blog a lot and I was just sitting here thinking of naming those two birds Austin and Topher.

      January 27, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Please don't encourage our resident crazy man.

      January 28, 2014 at 5:09 am |
  10. Bob from Accounting

    "Is this a sign of a bad omen?"

    I think it is more of a sign that a seagull's and crow's nest is nearby

    January 27, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
    • Mmmmmmm

      I read that these doves are most likely prey for other birds, as they are bred in captivity and have no natural defenses in the wild...that, and those other birds are around there all the time because humans are, and they drop an awful lot of food.
      I also read that they got away, but will likely die due to actual birds of prey, such as raptors and the like.

      January 27, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        If the raptors falter we must prey for them.

        January 27, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
  11. Mmmmmmm

    What religion are you shilling? You're doing a crappy job.

    January 27, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
  12. Nathan

    It's a sign! Some birds eat other birds.

    January 27, 2014 at 7:57 pm |
    • Bob from Accounting

      Or defend their territory from other, unrecognized birds.

      January 27, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
  13. Vic

    Maybe it's a heads up for Puxatony Phil that we are going to have six more weeks of Winter after groundhog day...LOL.

    January 27, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Why. Did someone uncover plans by the crow and seagull that they will attack Phil, too?

      January 27, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
      • Vic

        No..it's like the doves emerging from the ambush alive reminiscent of Puxatony Phil emerging and seeing his shadow.

        January 27, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, this one would be a little backwards, withdrawn..lol.

          January 27, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
        • Vic


          The attack on the doves is like Puxatony Phil seeing his shadow and we have six more weeks of Winter but we will survive that.

          I am just trying to loosen up a little..lol.

          January 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          You're getting it!

          January 27, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
    • Vic

      Or, maybe it's a sign that the Seattle Seahawks will gain big on the Denver Broncos but the Broncos eventually emerge as the Super Bowl 2014 Champions come Sunday.

      Go Broncos.

      January 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
      • Dandintac


        You've had your Superbowls.

        GO HAWKS!

        January 27, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
      • AusBart

        American football is for sissies. Real men don't wear pads and real women don't use them for sport.

        Rugby rugby! Oi Oi Oi!

        January 27, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
  14. Manny AR

    God Bless Us All!!!!!!! It is very bizarre that the Doves were attacked. Has this happened in the past?

    January 27, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
    • JW

      Don't focus much on the birds. Focus on what God requires of us, and what he will be doing soon to false religion! ( Rev chapter 18,19)

      January 27, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        For instance, JW here, favors the JW version of the pocky-clipse. Which is sure to happen soon based on this event. Of course, in a hundred years when JW is gone and JW's progeny is running around posting to inter web forums about the coming pocky-clipse soon will still be soon. Adjust time-space continuum as needed to prove your pocky-clipse-comming-soon mantra.

        January 27, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
        • JW

          In fact the same ones that will abolish false religion, will try after to abolish JW.... But, they won't...we will just have to stay still and see the Salvation by Jehovah!

          January 27, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          Those darned abolishonists!

          January 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
      • Wootings

        ...and I take it that by "false religion," you mean all religion.

        January 27, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
        • JW

          There is only one true and one false, that includes all but the true...

          January 27, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
        • Science Works

          HEY JW
          The ti-tle says it best !

          Social evolution: The ritual animal ! (primate)


          January 27, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
        • JW

          Ohh Science- there you go with your ape man.. lol

          January 27, 2014 at 8:25 pm |
        • Science Works

          NOT mine but US/WE are you know primates. JW.

          January 27, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
        • sam stone

          Of course, JW, you know the "true" religion

          You and Larry of Arabia

          You and Larry of Arabia and Gopher

          You, Larry of Arabia, Gopher and Lie4Him

          etc etc etc

          January 28, 2014 at 5:30 am |
      • sam stone

        JW: Quotes from the bible are only relevant to those who accept the supposed authority of the bible.

        January 28, 2014 at 5:11 am |
    • CommonSensed

      No. We're pretty sure in the entire known history of the world, no dove was ever attacked by either a crow or a seagull, much less both in the same day.

      So get ready for whatever pocky-clipse you favor.

      January 27, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
    • Stewart

      Yes. There is no real excuse for this incident because the same thing happened last year! I don't know why it is getting more attention this year. The two previous years the doves avoided disaster by immediately flying back in through the Pope's window. Any animal-oriented site could tell the Pope or his staff that releasing a tame animal in the wild is a certain, quick, and cruel death sentence. What is more, there is a right way to "release" doves that is a niche business in the USA and UK. They use trained white homing pigeons which look about the same but are bigger, stronger, and used to the outdoors. They fly up, do a circle, and head for home. Only a particularly skilled or lucky hawk can catch one, and occasional predators like crows and gulls don't have a chance.

      January 27, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
      • Cherilyn B

        Stewart – Thank you for making a well-informed and intelligent comment. I had given up hope of one.

        January 27, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
  15. Anthony Crispino

    My wife's groin doctor read this article and was saying that those crows are pretty simmetrical and that they should check them to make sure they are not drones. Pretty scary stuff if you ask me.

    January 27, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      I didn't know drones were simmetrical. In fact I didn't know anything was simmetrical. I'll have to look into that later. Thanks for the tip.

      January 27, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
    • Serge of Nazareth

      For me, that would be a pretty good indication that the wife needs a MUCH better groin doctor. Heck, she might even try a gynocologist instead.

      January 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        Don't assume hetero marriage. Could be the figurative wife in the relationship.

        January 27, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
    • Peter

      Your wife's "groin doctor" ??

      January 27, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
      • AtheistSteve

        Yeah it looks like Anthony's home schooling is showing. Which "groin doctor" is he talking about? Her gynecologist, her obstetrician, her proctologist or perhaps her plastic surgeon for a labioplasty to reduce her monster meat curtains?

        January 27, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
  16. jfaristide

    This comment section wins the entire internet.

    January 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      What do we win? A lifetime supply of troll bait?

      January 27, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
  17. stevie68a

    Ronald Wilson Reagan was a famous "666". Each name is 6 letters. Even his house had a 666 address, but he was made to
    change the house number! I think he secretly thought of it as his lucky number.

    January 27, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      And my CNN Belief Blog handle is just one order of magnitude from freaking out people who give significance to those scary numbers.


      January 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
  18. edwardst35

    It is an omen!

    January 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
    • Definitely!

      Where is the Oracle of Delphi when you need her? These Christians can't decipher an omen for nothing.

      January 27, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
  19. JW

    Don't know if it has any meaning of not, but what is prophecyzed in the bible is that soon God will bring destruction upon false religion. He will use the religions "lovers", The governments of this world to attack and completely destroy false religion. ( Rev chapter 18,19)

    January 27, 2014 at 6:10 pm |
    • sam stone

      oooh, false religion

      January 27, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
    • ME II

      What do you mean by "soon"? He's been saying that for nearly 2000 years.

      January 27, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
      • JW

        This event would happen during the Lords day... Evidence shows that Christ has been reigning in heaven since 1914, when Jesus clean the heaven of satan and his demons, causing turmoil here on earth, because satan came furious! ( Rev 12:9-12 )

        January 27, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          What evidence would that be?

          January 27, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • JW

          What evidence... What do you mean?

          January 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
        • Righteo

          1914? Up to 1914 Jesus wasn't reigning, and Satan and the demons were all in heaven?

          I have to tell you, whenever I read really out-there comments like that by religious people, I automatically hear the Looney Toons the song.

          January 27, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
        • JW

          Prophecy shows that even though Christ was sitting at the right hand of God, he had to wait until God could give him the crown to start ruling. When Christ started officially ruling, his first task was to expel Satan and the demons from heaven, not allowing them to return there ever. They were hurled down to earth!

          January 27, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Prophesy is not evidence. On a practical note – why wouldn't the bad guys be expelled to somewhere other than earth?

          January 27, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
        • Righteo

          And Dad was prefectly happy to have Satan and the demons hang around heaven for millenia? So everyone who went to heaven before 1914 found themselves surrounded by Satan and demons?

          Wow! The things that people believe!

          January 27, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
        • JW

          Santa- why to earth? Because we are the only planet with life. And the only planet where Gods Kingdom Will get established.

          January 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
        • JW

          Righte- actually no one went to heaven before 1914. Why so long in heaven? God has a time for each thing.

          January 27, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
        • Alias

          Wher does your Holly book say anything about 1914?

          January 27, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
        • JW

          It doesn't, it's all about calculation and about events that would happen.
          ( Dan chapter 4)

          January 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Prior to 1914, that wasn't what the Watchtower Society said.
          "… the battle of the great day of God Almighty … The date of the close of that "battle" is definitely marked in Scripture as October 1914. It is already in progress, its beginning dating from October, 1874." Zion's Watch Tower 1892 Jan 15 p.23

          The first draft of the Jehovah's Witness creed maintained that:

          The Last Days began 1799
          Jesus Parousia started 1874
          Jesus started ruling in heaven in 1878
          The Gentile Times would end in 1914, resulting in End of Armageddon, fall of false religion, end of all governments and the resurrection.
          The church's history is riddled with failed prophecies and rationalization. The revisionist history of the Jehovah's Witnesses is apparent today with archived copies of JoHo literature being widely available online.

          January 27, 2014 at 7:57 pm |
        • JW

          Doc- 1914 was the end of gentile times. Christ started reigning that year! The beginning of his reign would bring peace in heaven and "woes" to year... In that same year the 1st World War started, and with it the world changed for much worst until our days... Why? Satan was cast to earth and he come with great wrath!

          1914 is a calculation based on the bible! But yes the JWs made some mistakes with some predictions and learned with them.

          Do you know of anyone who's prediction came true??

          Despite those prediction mistakes your talking about, that maybe got you disappointed, today JW are very active in more then 240 countries and keep on growing as a group. And the understanding of biblical truth by JWs has never been so clear in all earth.

          January 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          "Because we are the only planet with life."
          That's something I've never understood – why would a god create a universe with billions of galaxies each with billions of stars and only create life on one exoplanet and choose as its people a minor tribe living in a few hundred square miles of that planet ignoring the rest of the population.

          January 27, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
        • ME II

          "...yes the JWs made some mistakes with some predictions and learned with them."

          But, are they any better at making them?

          "Do you know of anyone who's prediction came true??"

          Ok, so, no. thanks.

          January 28, 2014 at 10:11 am |
    • edwardst35

      It is an omen!

      January 27, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
    • doobzz

      No, that has absolutely no meaning.

      January 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
    • Mmmmmmm

      Every single post I read by this person gets more and more left-field.

      January 27, 2014 at 7:32 pm |
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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.