January 27th, 2014
12:40 PM ET

Angry birds! Pope's peace doves attacked

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor
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(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. Dharmik Vaidya

    Its ironic that the pope preaches peace when his organization is bent on controlling the world through propaganda, cover ups, and lies. Offering food and money for converting to christianity in third world countries to the near extinction of the native americans in the US. Is christianity not responsible for religious wars waged in the name of peace and freedom, ie. Templar Knights. Does he not claim to fight for peace by the use of propaganda, money, influence etc. He preaches peace yet he fights; for it is not possible to have peace without fighting therefore theoratically peace is not possible because there will always be a cause to fight for. Our bodies would not survive if our heart stopped fighting the daily battle of pumping blood religiously. So I say fight. Bring on the battles, fight the good fight that will lead humanity in the correct direction.

    February 1, 2014 at 5:58 am |
  2. EX Catholic

    hahaha 😀 😀 😀 That is what happens when Idolaters do such things.

    January 31, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
    • OTOH

      You are an idolator too, EX - you just keep your idol in your head.

      January 31, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
      • EX Catholic

        Really; have you lost your head?

        January 31, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
    • EX Catholic

      God sent the ravens and the sea gull to attack the doves because they were sent by the idolater pope. hahaha!!

      January 31, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
      • EX Catholic

        Just as He sent them to feed the prophet Elijah!! hahaha ROFLOL!!

        January 31, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
  3. Ethan

    the eagle,[a] the bearded[b] vulture,
    the black vulture,[c] 14 the kite,[d]
    any kind of falcon,[e]
    15 every kind of raven, 16 the ostrich,[f]
    the short-eared owl,[g] the gull,[h]
    any kind of hawk,
    17 the little[i] owl, the cormorant,[j]
    the long-eared owl,[k]
    18 the white[l] owl, the desert owl,[m]
    the osprey,[n] 19 the stork,[o]
    any kind of heron,[p]
    the hoopoe, and the bat.

    January 31, 2014 at 11:53 am |
    • Ethan

      The Bible lists the gull and the raven as unclean for a reason, clean birds of the Bible are:Doves,
      Hen &

      January 31, 2014 at 11:55 am |
      • Ken Margo

        They maybe unclean, but atleast they're full.

        January 31, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
      • EX Catholic

        mmm... interesting! While at the same time ravens fed Elijah!!

        January 31, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
    • Ethan

      In the parable of the sower, the farmer plants seeds on the ground, some fall on good ground and produce fruit and others don't. The ones that don't fall on good ground– some of them fall on th.orny ground, while others are eaten by the birds of the air... likewise, the message of God's ultimate plan for redeeming mankind although revealed to many, will not be received by all.

      Those two innocent doves are like those who share the good news sometimes at great risk to their own

      January 31, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
      • #Pray


        January 31, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        and what good news is this? Doves taste good?

        January 31, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

      January 31, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
  4. Universe

    Verses regarding Mary in Quran (Islamic Scripture)

    “Mention in the scripture Mary. She isolated herself from her family, into an eastern location.” [19:16]

    “While a barrier separated her from them, we sent to her our Spirit. He went to her in the form of a human being.”

    “She said, "I seek refuge in the Most Gracious, that you may be righteous."”

    “He said, "I am the messenger of your Lord, to grant you a pure son."”

    “She said, "How can I have a son, when no man has touched me; I have never been unchaste."”

    “He said, "Thus said your Lord, `It is easy for Me. We will render him a sign for the people, and mercy from us. This is a predestined matter.' "”

    “When she bore him, she isolated herself to a faraway place.”

    “The birth process came to her by the trunk of a palm tree. She said, "(I am so ashamed;) I wish I were dead before this happened, and completely forgotten."”

    “(The infant) called her from beneath her, saying, "Do not grieve. Your Lord has provided you with a stream.”

    "If you shake the trunk of this palm tree, it will drop ripe dates for you.*

    "Eat and drink, and be happy. When you see anyone, say, `I have made a vow of silence, [to the Most Gracious]*; I am not talking today to anyone.' "

    “She came to her family, carrying him. They said, "O Mary, you have committed something that is totally unexpected.”

    "O descendant of Aaron, your father was not a bad man, nor was your mother unchaste."

    “She pointed to him. They said, "How can we talk with an infant in the crib?"”

    (The infant spoke and) said, "I am a servant of God. He has given me the scripture, and has appointed me a prophet.

    "He made me blessed wherever I go, and enjoined me to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat) for as long as I live.

    "I am to honor my mother; He did not make me a disobedient rebel.

    "And peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I get resurrected."

    “That was Jesus, the son of Mary, and this is the truth of this matter, about which they continue to doubt.”

    “It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is.”

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.

    January 29, 2014 at 8:00 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Which one is Allah. The dove, the crow or the seagull? Let me guess, dove means peace. We know that isn't allah. When you think of allah, you think of pieces. Like suicide bomber.

      The crow? Muslims like to crow about the "will of allah" So far allah isn't willin' to help arabs get rid of israel. So it's not the crow.

      The seagull? Lets see. if you break down the word sea gull, sea is easy, the sea. Gull on the other hand means gullable, to deceive, to fool. Muslims and arabs have been fooled for centuries thinking allah is up there watching over everyone. We know that is as ludicrous as the christian god "knowing what everyone is doing".

      So allah must be the seagull!

      January 29, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
      • Jerrod

        Sea gulls are also known as sky rats, so there's that.

        January 30, 2014 at 11:24 am |
      • The pain of it all

        That is spending entirely too much time thinking about it.

        January 30, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          I noticed you didn't say I was wrong!

          January 30, 2014 at 7:43 pm |
        • Pauline

          Not planning to ever comment on Beliefnet again. So sorry I checked "notify me" of comments. What a sorry bunch of atheists, agnostics, fundamentalists and generally negative time-wasters this was.

          January 30, 2014 at 8:25 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Gee Pauline, I thought we were friends!

          January 30, 2014 at 8:40 pm |
        • Don't ever

          Check that button. Your inbox will be filled in 2 seconds.

          January 31, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
        • Don't go!

          Pauline, come back! There are so many opportunities to be a smart aleck on here and you are just throwing those opportunities away!

          January 31, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
  5. Reality #2

    Once again:

    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 11:13 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      You could say the same thing about humans when it comes to s3x.

      January 29, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
      • Mmmmmmm

        We could always give the birds an anti-desire pill.

        January 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • Beta blockers

          They are the anti-viagra

          January 29, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          We could give the birds lap band surgery so they'll won't eat as much.

          January 29, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
        • Regular reader

          Or plastic surgery, they need smaller beaks

          January 29, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
        • Mmmmmmm

          Or they could quit releasing birds bred in captivity into the wild where they're defenseless...


          January 29, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          I Thought those birds were homing pigeons!

          January 29, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
      • Reality #2

        Birds and se-x. See more at http://birding.about.com/od/Reproduction/a/How-Birds-Mate.htm.

        January 30, 2014 at 8:19 am |
        • Ken Margo

          Wait a minute. You don't want people to have s3x. Yet you want us to see how birds mate?

          January 30, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • Reality #2

          Har, har !!

          I believe it was you who indicated that you did not know how birds do it. Now you know. 🙂

          January 30, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Reality #2

          Har, har !!

          "I believe it was you who indicated that you did not know how birds do it. Now you know."

          Where in my post did I indicate that I did not know how birds do it? (Or that I was curious to know)

          January 30, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • Reality #2

          Had you known about bird s-ex, you would not have posted the question. Crazy courting rituals, sitting on fertilized eggs, very little copulation, limited fertility time periods, etc. as noted in the referenced article. And as you know now, birds are modern day- dinosaurs, far removed from very evolved humans and our-more perfect se-xuality and our knowledge to copulate without becoming pregnant i.e. practicing safe-s-ex. 🙂

          January 31, 2014 at 6:59 am |
        • Ken Margo

          Ok I'll play along.......

          January 31, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
  6. Ken Margo

    I guess the birds aren't pro life!

    January 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm |
    • Indeed

      There are always predators.

      January 28, 2014 at 8:25 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        Sure are. Poor people call them republicans.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
  7. Ken Margo

    If some one had a rock, they could've killed two birds with one stone.

    January 28, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
  8. His panic

    OK people there is absolutely no need to Panic about this. It all means, that the pope has no clue at all about the Peace that is found only in Christ Jesus the One and Only Son of God. The little doves means nothing at all, however the black crow and the seagull attacking the poor little doves after being sent from the pope's office... mmm... I don't know. Anyways is totally irrelevant for me.

    You see... this little man with such a big moniker as pope, is a nobody in the Kingdom of Heaven. I even I may be his Panic. Anyone can Panic, people do Panic and those pretty little doves were probably in Panic. However those who really Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son WILL NOT Panic

    January 28, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
    • bostontola

      Is the whole purpose of your religion/God to avoid panic? You seem obsessed with the notion of panic.

      January 28, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
      • Petyr

        The purpose is a silly pun.

        January 28, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
  9. Honey Badger Don't Care

    In the original Mesopotamian flood myth it was a raven NOT a dove that was sent out and found land. Raven for the win!

    January 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
    • Alice

      That still doesn't explain why the raven is like a writing desk now does it?

      January 28, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
  10. StarightMan

    LGBT Minor Community is Responsible for this kind of attack on Peace Lovers.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
    • Kendra

      So the LGBT community made the crow and seagull attack?

      January 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      you poor simple individual ...

      January 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
    • Akira

      Wow. Really?

      January 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
    • bostontola

      Great screen name for sarcasm.

      January 28, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
  11. Ah

    Satan is thanking the pope for continued crimes of child abuse cover ups.

    January 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • Satan

      For the record I'm not that interested in child cruelty, or dead cats. I'd ask for a snickers bar and a twelve pack of Mountain Dew but it's like nobody cares anymore.

      January 28, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
  12. SurelyUjest

    Winter IS coming? I am living in MN and Winter is here!!

    January 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
  13. Cassidy S

    I think this means "Winter is Coming"

    January 28, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
  14. SurelyUjest

    Here it is....the Christian God is dead, Satan is dead long live the Pagan gods of old of which Crows and Ravens were harbingers of profiices. LOL

    January 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
    • Crystle

      Love this! Reminds me of a comedy. Would of been even better if the doves were released and then sucked into a plane engine flying by.

      January 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
      • fyi

        * would have been
        (there's no such thing as "would of")

        January 28, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
        • fyi

          * "would've" is the contraction

          January 28, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
  15. richunix


    You are correct Epicurus lived from c 341 –c. 370 B.C.E, this comment was attributed by Lactantius an early christian advisor to the Emperor Constantine. I will make sure I update the quote to reflect the correct author, however the basic tenant is true.

    January 28, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
    • *


      January 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
      • richunix

        thank you, just been a bad day....I hate spell check sometimes

        January 28, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
  16. paullubbock

    Gulls and blackbirds aren't birds of prey. They aren't raptors. They may be a bit territorial or annoyed at a sudden flock of strange other birds but those doves got off easy.

    January 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
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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.