'Femen' protesters disrupt pope's weekly message
The Ukrainian activist group was demonstrating against the Vatican's vocal opposition to gay adoption, which Italy's Court of Cassation recently defended in a ruling
- Catherine Hornby, Vatican City
- Vatican City
- January 14, 2013
The Vatican underlined its opposition to gay adoption on Sunday as same-sex marriage supporters staged a topless protest in front of the pope in St. Peter’s Square.
The Vatican paper L’Osservatore Romano published a response to an Italian court’s rejection of an appeal by a father who feared his son would not have a balanced upbringing if he lived with his mother and her female partner.
The Court of Cassation ruled it was “mere prejudice” to assume that living with a homosexual couple could be detrimental for a child’s development. While gay rights group Arcigay called it a “historic ruling” for Italy, where it is illegal for gay couples to adopt, Catholic leaders were quick to defend the traditional family unit.
The Vatican has become increasingly vocal against homosexual marriage in recent months. Pope Benedict strongly reaffirmed the Church’s opposition to it in December, saying heterosexual marriage had an indispensable role in society.
While the pope was giving his weekly address on Sunday, four women from the Ukrainian Femen group who were in the crowd, pulled off their T-shirts to reveal the slogan “In Gay we Trust” painted over their bodies.
Screaming “Homophobes shut up” as the pope started his Angelus blessing, they provoked angry reactions from pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square. One woman in the crowd started hitting the activists with an umbrella, calling them “diabolical”.
Italian police grabbed the protesters and pulled them away from the crowd.