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Pope's dove of peace almost ends in pieces: Seagull attacks bird seconds after Pontiff releases it from Vatican balcony
Releasing a dove is a symbolic appeal for peace. But when the Pope tried it yesterday, it led to quite a flap.
Nobody had bargained on a resident seagull who apparently hadn't been listening to the Holy Father's sermon.
It swooped in and attacked the bird of peace as soon as Pope Benedict XVI released the dove from a balcony at the Vatican.
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Anticipation: Pope Benedict XVI holds the dove of peace up to the sunlight moments before it is released into the air above expectant pilgrims
Message of hope: A young boy (right) releases the dove of peace next to the Pope during the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican
Ascendency: Young people from Youth Catholic Action look on as the dove takes flight in what was meant to be a symbolic moment
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.
Some 2,000 youngsters from Rome had marched to St Peter's Square for the annual 'Caravan of Peace' which takes place on the last Sunday of January and finishes with the release of two white doves by the Pope shortly after the Angelus prayer.
The poetic celebration takes a turn for the worse as the seagull swoops upon the unsuspecting dove
The crowd watched as the dove flapped and ducked the seagull's attacks looking for a hiding place among the coves and inlets of the Vatican facades
It is not the first time the Pope's prayers have not protected his birds of peace. Last year the two doves he released turned tail and flew straight back in through the open window.
'They want to stay in the Pope's home,' Benedict had said.
What he had to say about yesterday's kerfuffle was not known. But someone must have said a quick little prayer, as the dove eventually made good its escape.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2269255/Popes-dove-peace-ends-pieces-Seagull-attacks-bird-seconds-Pontiff-releases-Vatican-balcony.html#ixzz2JGkPIdBm
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