ROME – During a demonstration in Rome on Saturday expressing opposition to restrictive measures to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus, a gathering endorsed by Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, participants displayed a papal flag with the image of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and burned a picture of Pope Francis.
The demonstration, which took place in Rome’s Piazza della Bocca della Verità, was supported by the Italian political party Forza Nuova, a neo-fascist movement best known for its opposition to immigrants. During the rally, participants burned facemasks promoted as a means of combating the coronavirus, denouncing them as a “symbol of slavery.”
Several signs also expressed affection for US President Donald Trump, described by one as a leader who “loves Italy.”
Demonstrators displayed the Italian flag and signs reading “We are the people,” expressing opposition to what organizers called a “healthcare dictatorship.” In addition to political parties, sponsors included groups of taxi drivers and hotel operators, both groups whose incomes have suffered as a result of coronavirus restrictions.
According to local media reports, there was a significant presence of Catholic traditionalists and conservatives at the demonstration, including protesters who carried a version of the gold-and-white papal flag with an image of Benedict XVI. Another demonstrator who came dressed as a Catholic priest burned a photograph to Pope Francis to applause and cheers.
I not a fan on Pope Francis; I wasn't a fan of Pope Benedict until late in his time in the office, and then - as I was following him on Twitter and watching him 'wake up' to Who Jesus Chris re-ally is, I became a cheerleader and fan. I was actually sad when Benedict retired, but happy that he was able to do so.
As for the people burning Pope Francis' picture, I was all about that. They're right, that the mask is a symbol of slavery, but I was surprised they were out there protesting like they were.
Psalm 121:1-2 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.