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. t2vodka

    ROFL, I can see it now, looney christians around the world building bunkers and stockpileing supplies because they just dun seen a sign that duh end times is uh comen!!

    January 28, 2014 at 8:15 am |
    • Responding to the Pride

      ROFL. I can see it now. Atheists insulting Christians with junior high retorts.

      Oh yeah. Well, my daddy makes more money than yours! See what I did there.

      January 28, 2014 at 8:27 am |
      • igaftr

        It really isn't an insult when it is true...there are christians around the world getting ready for the "end times"...just not all of them.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:34 am |
        • G to the T

          I think it can still be considered instulting, but it certainly isn't slanderous.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:11 am |
      • Brother Maynard

        Junior high claims deserve junior high retorts

        January 28, 2014 at 8:58 am |
    • Responding to the Pride

      Vodka, Iga and Maynard...prove it...prove any single person is building a bunker because a couple of birds got into a tussle. Your insults, mocking, etc.–all very childish, all very immature.

      January 28, 2014 at 11:12 am |
  2. Brother Maynard

    Woke up this morning ... no second coming of jesus ... no rapture of xtians
    thats 17977 days in a row for me

    January 28, 2014 at 8:04 am |
  3. lean6

    I'm just glad that the seagull was there to make it a collaborative racial attack on the dove, just to remove that tired old "hate crime" conversation from the table. Check the footage, people. (sarc)

    January 28, 2014 at 7:29 am |
  4. Aeroman08

    I don't understand how this could be interpreted as a bad omen or sign. Two symbols of peace were attacked and overcame their aggressors - they ESCAPED! Had they been killed, that would have been a different story. But it seems peace overcame hostility, in this instance.

    January 28, 2014 at 7:23 am |
    • Reality # 2

      No, it was simply what birds do. Might want to review the characteristics of the birds involved. Some starting points:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbidae and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gull

      January 28, 2014 at 7:56 am |
      • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

        Exactly… but we are having this convo with religious nutters here. Facts and logic aren’t their strong suit.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:05 am |
  5. richunix

    @Arthur Nudge, Christian

    Which ending are you referring to? Up until the 6th century the early Christian used the Apocalyptic Gospel according to Peter or the current one that was consider lest scary to the early Christian Apocalyptic Gospel according to John. Of course you realize (you couldn’t be that dumb) we have no idea who the real authors were considering the earliest copies of these books are in Konic Greek and written (earliest 150 years) in the 2nd century to the 3rd century C.E.

    Just wanted you to understand were your stories(s) are coming from.

    January 28, 2014 at 7:01 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      A simple reading of the works of the early church fathers (who were pupils of the apostles) pretty much puts to rest any concerns about WHO wrote the gospels. Actually, it's only those who haven't studied who say that they don't know who wrote the gospels. As a matter of fact, we could piece together almost all of the New Testament just from the quotes of the early church fathers.

      January 28, 2014 at 7:19 am |
      • Science Works

        But was it Adam and Eve evolution LoA ?

        January 28, 2014 at 7:24 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Wow... Define non sequitur.

          January 28, 2014 at 7:28 am |
        • Science Works

          I did not say !

          January 28, 2014 at 7:33 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Whether you said it or they said it, it is still a non sequitur for the question of the authorship of the gospels, of which there is no question to those who have studied.

          January 28, 2014 at 7:41 am |
        • Saraswati


          I appreciate attention to the latest science stories, but have to agree that it gets confusing when you post on unrelated threads. Could you start new threads when you want to change topics? I suspect you mat sometimes feel it is related, but the posts are so far in topic you are essentially saying to us "What you are discussing is so boring to me I won't comment on it but will instead post this only marginally related link". It really would be better in such a case to start your own thread and leave alone a topic in which you aren't interested.

          January 28, 2014 at 7:43 am |
        • Science Works

          Page 1 works too .

          January 28, 2014 at 7:44 am |
        • Science Works

          Or LoA Genesis 9:18-9 more deception ?

          January 28, 2014 at 9:06 am |
      • richunix

        Read "The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture" by Dr. Bart Ehrman and you will find those same fathers went to great lengths to lie, cheat and out right deceive the reader in want to believe and how to worship.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:05 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Bart Ehrman is about as far from a non-bias scholarly approach as you can get.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:09 am |
        • Science Works

          deceive – bingo !

          January 28, 2014 at 8:29 am |
        • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

          Lawrence of Arabia

          Most Christians engaging in scholarly Biblical study are automatically biased. It takes Biblical ana.lysis from an atheist/agnostic to be truly non-biased.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:38 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        The actual authorship of the Gospels is still a matter for debate.
        What we can surmise is that Mark is likely the earliest work, likely dating to around 65AD. Mark is said to have briefly been an associate of the Apostle Peter, but was not an apostle himself.
        Matthew relies heavily on Mark, somtimes quoting passages verbatim. That it leans to much on a secondary source casts major doubt as to whether it was written by someone with first hand knowledge.
        Luke's gospel is so different from the others in tone, style, chronology and the details given of Christ's life that it seems almost disconnected from the others.
        And as for Revelation – it has fairly well been established that John of Patmos was not the Apostle John. For one thing, John doesn't really mention his own name in the Gospel, but he is constantly lauding himself as a prophet in Revelation.
        To me, the whole thing reads like the bitter ravings of an exile, or perhaps a survivor of the destruction of Jerusalem – the constant references to seven crowns, seven heads etc. are likely references to the various churches then in power.
        But it still reads like a bad acid trip and is nothing like the other NT books.

        But in the end, the true authorship of the NT has never been firmly established. The faithful generally prefer to believe as you do, but scholars are still researching and debating.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:20 am |
        • richunix


          January 28, 2014 at 8:28 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "scholars are still researching and debating"
          Scholars like WHO? Bart Ehrman? Please, as an ex-evangelical, he takes himself as a "Bible Scholar" way too seriously. He begins with the notion that the Bible is not the inspired word of God, and then deliberately goes out of his way to try to prove that. That's not good science.

          The authorship of the gospels has been very well established through textual criticism of not only the church fathers, who were the direct pupils of these men, but also through stylistic and linguistic studies of the texts.

          The topic only comes up every now and then when people who wish to quote from atheists websites rather than reading the data for themselves wish to throw doubt to the winds, hoping to convince those who are themselves unsure. And a lie pronounced loudly enough, and with enough confidence, no matter how absurd, can be believed.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:31 am |
        • richunix

          I’m currently working on the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (non-narrative, collection of saying’s by Jesus). I’m in agreement that this work could predate even Mark…

          January 28, 2014 at 8:33 am |
        • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

          "He begins with the notion that the Bible is not the inspired word of God".

          Everybody should begin with that notion. If it is the inspired word of Yahweh, surely it should shine through on appraisal and convince you otherwise.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:35 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Everybody should begin with that notion"
          No, good science dictates that you do not start with a conclusion.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:40 am |
        • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

          A notion isn't a conclusion. The Bible not being the word of Yahweh is the Null Hypothesis. Always start with the Null Hypothesis.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • Hmmmmm

          "good science dictates that you do not start with a conclusion."

          Which is why i'm no longer religious. Born, bred and brainwashed but I got out so it is possible if you just keep thinking for yourself instead of blindly opening your mouth and letting them pour theological feces down your throat.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:44 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I've never read anything by Bart Ehrman, other than when he's been referenced here by other people.
          I am not quoting or cutting and pasting from an atheist website. I'm giving you my own view based on my own reading.
          But the debate over authorship is still very much alive. The topic is well addressed and throroughly researched by people like D. Moody Smith (George Washington Ivey Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Duke U.), Burton Mack (John Wesley Professor emeritus in early Christianity at the Claremont School of Theology) and Robert Kysar (Professor of Preaching and New Testament Emeritus at Candler School of Theology) – all of whom have published studies that are extremely skeptical of the traiditonal myths around the Gospels' writing.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:52 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          All of the original NT material was effectively lost. The fragments from the early 2nd century are just that – fragments of lines, only enough to suggest that they were part of something familiar. The more complete manuscripts are from a time after struggles and controversy over things like the divinity of Jesus and the nature of the godhead had been going on for some time. What you can read now was collected and edited by the people who won out in those arguments.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:58 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Unbiased science could not possibly be performed by a man/woman who possessed faith in God. Nor di faith have any physical confirmation of its beliefs. Dan Brown
          The same can be said for the Christian apologists sites from where you get your vast knowledge, LOL, on who wrote the gospels. You reply to richunix above, was rather lame, try again.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:24 am |
        • Somebody's Attractive Cousin


          "Unbiased science could not possibly be performed by a man/woman who possessed faith in God."

          That's a rather unfair statement that den!grates the work of religious/theist scientists.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:30 am |
        • Charm Quark

          I will let Dan Brown know and he may have it edited out of new editions of his book, unless he pulls that tricky freedom of speech thingy. Did not ask you to agree as LofA demands you do with his conclusions, peace, watch out for the birds though.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:44 am |
  6. fidel

    maybe they were former alter birds

    January 28, 2014 at 6:08 am |
  7. saggyroy

    hmmmmm....seaguls and crows almost NEVER go where there is a big crowd of humans to look for food.

    January 28, 2014 at 5:58 am |
    • Ah

      maybe a mark indicating the evil pope and vatican for crimes against children worldwide

      January 28, 2014 at 6:11 am |
  8. No one

    Mother Nature>Abrahamic god.

    January 28, 2014 at 4:15 am |
    • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

      Flying Spaghetti Monster>Mother Nature>Abrahamic god.

      January 28, 2014 at 8:18 am |
  9. Name*

    That wasn't funny. It shouldn't be compared to comedies.

    January 28, 2014 at 3:10 am |
    • The Robin Williams School For The Humor-Impaired

      With our specially tailored curriculum we can help you overcome you humor-impairment.

      January 28, 2014 at 3:25 am |
  10. Francisco

    This is just Mother Nature working....... That's all..,,

    January 28, 2014 at 2:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It's the terror of knowing
      What this world is about...

      January 28, 2014 at 2:27 am |
  11. Arthur Nudge, Christian

    This was the clearest evidence that the final piece of Biblical prophesy has been fulfilled and the End Times are at hand. The next-to-final piece of Biblical prophesy, as the much-awaited squirrel stealing your peanut butter sandwich prophesy must be fulfilled. But then, Jesus will return in his nine-wheeled monster truck to battle Satan in the Great End Times Ultimate Cage Macarena Contest.

    Satan is already amongst us. Unlike Jesus, he drives a Lamborghini, and of course the Great Deceiver deceptively is a little white guy covered in bling who turns the deceived to his dark ways with stinky over-produced pop music and lots of publicity for being a public nincompoop. For the numbers in his name tell their nefarious tale of 666: Justin Sissie Bieber.

    The End Times are upon us, dear friends, and let no atheist tell you otherwise, for there is no way anyone but God could make such a glorious and obvious omen come true.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:42 am |
    • Dirk

      Birds attacked some birds... big deal! It's meaningless. However, I can see that you take great joy in poking fun at folk's religious beliefs. I would imagine there are probably a number of things about you that people could make fun of which I am sure wouldn't make you very happy.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:12 am |
      • Arthur Nudge, Christian

        You must hate comedies at the movies. All that poking fun.

        January 28, 2014 at 2:23 am |
      • joe

        Birds attacked some birds... big deal! It's meaningless. However, I can see that you take great joy in poking fun at folk's religious beliefs.
        Oh no. The irony is as rich as it gets.

        Once again mother nature gives Christianity the smack down. Funny stuff.

        January 28, 2014 at 4:35 am |
        • dac

          I wonder if you would make this statement about Muslims and Jews? Or for that matter anyone of a different color than yourself. Keep your bigoted opinions to yourself. Hatred is so vile to see in other humans.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:00 am |
        • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse


          You’re not a victim ..grow a pair.

          To answer your question: comparing race and religion just shows how idiotic religious types can be. One is a choice the other is not. Yes… yes I would make fun of you if you CHOSE to believe stupid fairy tales, no I would not make fun of your because you were born. See the difference?

          January 28, 2014 at 8:12 am |
        • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

          Religion isn't exactly a choice either though, is it? I never consciously chose to be Pastafarian, just as most Christians don't consciously choose to be Christians.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:45 am |
      • Logical Positivist

        A symbol released by an icon was nearly eaten by a talisman and a totem. I wouldn't say it is an omen but rather a metaphor that desperately wants to be an allegory. This is why I didn't major in religion.

        January 28, 2014 at 7:35 am |
    • richunix

      Biblical Scholars have long known the number of the beast( current 666) was miss transcribe (copied) the correct number was 616 (not 666) which in Hebrew numerology was the name the current Emperor of Rome (Tiberius). Sorry Christian dude, you’re ready a well-made over fantasy

      January 28, 2014 at 7:09 am |
      • Saraswati

        Ummm...the commenter was joking.

        January 28, 2014 at 7:14 am |
  12. anon

    It's just a publicity stunt for the Vatican's new movie to be released soon: "Wings of Evil".

    January 28, 2014 at 12:29 am |
    • Happy Atheist

      Starring the Pope and Sir Paul McCartney...?

      January 28, 2014 at 8:13 am |
    • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

      Wings were far less evil than The Beatles.

      January 28, 2014 at 8:20 am |
  13. Matthew Hall

    can we take a moment to appreciate the photographers skill

    January 28, 2014 at 12:28 am |
  14. Reality # 2

    Even the RCC is a believer in evolution !! Maybe they need to pay a bit more attention to it.

    Next topic.

    January 28, 2014 at 12:04 am |
    • Science Works

      Catholic Answers – and this is where the problem lies in the first two ?

      Put any PR is better than the UN deal.

      People usually take three basic positions on the origins of the cosmos, life, and man: (1) special or instantaneous creation, (2) developmental creation or theistic evolution, (3) and atheistic evolution. The first holds that a given thing did not develop, but was instantaneously and directly created by God. The second position holds that a given thing did develop from a previous state or form, but that this process was under God’s guidance. The third position claims that a thing developed due to random forces alone.

      January 28, 2014 at 7:17 am |
      • Science Works


        January 28, 2014 at 7:19 am |
      • Reality # 2

        http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/evo_02, is good review of option 3.

        January 28, 2014 at 7:50 am |
        • Science Works

          Agree on 3 .

          January 28, 2014 at 7:52 am |
  15. Miked

    Nobody knows this this, but, this was staged by placing trained birds in the premisis to attack the dove. The vicious birds were trained to attack insuch an occasion by the Illuminati cult to promote the subtle influence of disillusioned-hope to keep the masses docile to other slaving influences from certain controlled media.

    January 28, 2014 at 12:01 am |
    • Sam Yaza

      dude if the Illuminati was real i would know,.. after all apparently they worship me.. the the crow was the Goddess Badb Catha, who is currently working in the Ukraine to bring forth a change in the peoples way of life, such is the duty of war deities,.. Yahweh but just stay out of it, if he knows whats good for him.

      January 28, 2014 at 12:31 am |
    • Sam Yaza

      the seagull is just some dumb bird who got in on it.

      January 28, 2014 at 12:33 am |
      • Ruppert Jenkins

        Or, perhaps you have it backwards, and this bird attack was instead mimicking the human world, where it's the white bird who is intelligent, and the black one who is not.

        January 28, 2014 at 1:08 am |
        • Larry

          That sea gull doesn't look black to me.

          January 28, 2014 at 1:17 am |
        • Hmmmmm

          Or, perhaps you have it backwards, and this bird attack was instead mimicking the human world, where it's the white bird who has the tiny penis and is a p u s s y, and the black one who is not.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:21 am |
        • Sam Yaza

          you humans, according to history the White breed of your kind erased history and impeded knowledge that would advance civilization for 1000 years, while the black and brown breeds still knew the earth was round. and that if an apple falls out of a tree the sky is not falling.

          January 29, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
  16. Montague Parlor

    Terrible omen.

    January 27, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
    • Edgar Allen

      How do you know? Maybe it's a great omen and you are just totally unqualified at interpreting omens.

      I once saw a hawk go on a plunging attack dive into a window and kill itself, ending atmost right at my feet. I was the only witness. And nothing particularly good or bad happened to either me, anyone I knew, of the world in general. It was a heck of an omen that things were going to be normal and ordinary.

      I've heard people say that omens like this are actually just birds doing their thing, and that any notions of it being an omen are simple the products of childish superstitious minds, but we all know how crazy that is!

      January 28, 2014 at 1:16 am |
  17. Pauline

    The thing to note is that the doves survived the attack. In all of this, did anyone notice?

    January 27, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Yes and so what? Just another day in the life of birds.

      January 28, 2014 at 12:06 am |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Pauline, I'll see you in the rapture capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget to wear your nose ring – the big steel one that I padlocked the chain onto when we were practicing for the uplifting.

      January 28, 2014 at 12:25 am |
  18. James

    That's about right. Jesus said, "I send you out as sheep among wolves.

    January 27, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
    • Pauline

      Yepper. Religion, inflicting pain and harm as usual...

      January 28, 2014 at 12:22 am |
      • doobzz

        And making you think it's a "blessing" from your imaginary friend.

        January 28, 2014 at 1:17 am |
  19. Des

    Be careful, everyone. "JW" is back trying to sell you on his deadly cult, the Jehovah's Witlesses, on almost every other comment. Start asking him about whether blood transfusions are OK for accident victims who have lost a lot of blood and would die without them. Expose his deadly cult for what it is. Just clicking Report Abuse when his post frequency gets out of hand again also works.

    He must be short on his doorknocking quota for the day.

    January 27, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
    • Boinky Benny

      I personally prefer that those posts stay so that visitors can see what whacks they are. I seriously doubt atheists convert even a fraction as many people as people to secularism like Austin and JW and Topher.

      January 27, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Or Live4Him or Lawrence of Arabia...all crazy nut cases, in need to severe mental health help.

        January 28, 2014 at 5:11 am |
      • sam stone

        Yep, they are all classics

        From Gopher's "Have you ever told a lie?", and "dude, I'm just trying to keep you out of hell" to Austin's "Cat Squishing" dreams

        Like a greatest hits for nutcases

        January 28, 2014 at 5:25 am |
  20. UncleM

    If birds had gods, their gods would be birds.

    January 27, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
    • Boomerang

      Would the raven 'mediums' practice necrowmancy?

      January 27, 2014 at 11:22 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.