Pope, Church attacked during Rome May Day concert

Pope, Church attacked during Rome May Day concert

How long is the Vatican going to continue these ill-advised pop concerts which inevitably degenerate into attacks on the Church. While it doesn’t appear to have been sponsored by the Vatican, Rome’s May Day concert was held outside St. John Lateran basilica, at which Italian performer Diego Rivera (The Catholic World News article calls him “Andrea Rivera”, but the Vatican press bulletin calls him “Diego”) attacked Pope Benedict and the Church.

During the concert, Rivera had roused the crowd with a series of comments directed against the Church, drawing loud applause between songs with remarks such as a comment that “the Pope does not believe in evolution, and the Church has never evolved.”

Keep in mind that the Church in Italy has been subject to serious threats and protests over her insistence that the Italian government should not pass same-sex civil union legislation. Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, has received death threats. From the Vatican Information Service:

Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. affirmed that “the irreverent comments directed at the Pope and the Church during the May Day concert were clearly an act of irresponsibility. It is right to say so, and the trade union representatives were right to disassociate themselves” from those comments.


Yesterday’s edition of the Vatican daily newspaper, the Osservatore Romano, described the comments by saying “it is a contemptible and terroristic act to throw stones, this time even against the Pope, while feeling protected by cries of approval from an easily excitable crowd.”

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  • Dom

    I think that the Vatican is innocent in this. I’m pretty sure that the government owns that square out there, and it is often used for mega-size gatherings, especially by labor unions. On several of my visits, I have seen the piazza in use for what no one would ever think the Vatican condoned—a communist party rally against the church, a labor strike rally with vulgar speeches, etc.

    May I gently suggest that the urge to blame the Church too quickly is not helpful.

    Tom Ryan

  • Perhaps, but the Vatican has stuck its foot in it several times with regard to pop concerts, calling to mind the Lauryn Hill incident a few years ago as one example.

  • Well since when I was born I remember San Giovanni has always been the venue for the 1st May concert and also other types of gatherings!
    And may I add that I personally don’t think that there is an organized “anti-Bagnasco” terrorist group in action, remember that the only thing that happened was some vile graffitis on the walls of Genova (Bagnasco’s diocese) and the letter with a bullet, which wasn’t really a bullet but I can’t think of the english word right now, anyways the Italian police made it clear that even if there is SOME alert there is absolutly NO NEED TO PANIC its probably the work of some individuals who copy others!