Vatican Gives Up on Doves
Animal-rights groups objected after last year's attack
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2015 8:41 AM CST
In this Jan. 26, 2014 file photo, a dove freed by children with Pope Francis during his Angelus prayer, is attacked by a black crow in St. Peter's Square.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)
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(Newser) – A year after Pope Francis and a couple of children released two doves from his studio window in St. Peter's Square to disastrous results, the Vatican chose today to instead release balloons in the name of peace. The doves tradition begun by Pope John Paul II bit the dust after the birds were attacked by a seagull and a crow, spurring animal-rights activists to appeal to Francis, who the AP notes plucked his papal name from bird-loving St. Francis of Assisi. "Here's the balloons that mean, 'peace,'" intoned Francis in today's release. The Vatican had no comment on the change.