Criticizing Pope Deemed “Terrorism”

From the July 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

The Vatican has redefined “terrorism.” The label, which typically refers to the use of violence or threats of violence in order to intimidate or coerce others, has been pinned on some anti-pope comments made by an Italian comedian, according to the Vatican’s official newspaper.

In a strongly worded editorial, L’Osservatore Romano wrote, “It’s terrorism to launch attacks on the church …. It’s terrorism to stoke blind and irrational rage against someone who always speaks in the name of love, love for life and love for man” (May 2).

The supposed terrorist, Andrea Rivera, spoke out against the pope’s stand on a number of issues. He told his audience, “The pope says he doesn’t believe in evolution. I agree, in fact the church has never evolved.” He criticized the church for refusing to give a Catholic funeral for a man who campaigned for euthanasia while giving one for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.

Rivera made these, in L’Osservatore Romano’s words, “vile attacks” in front of an “excitable crowd” at a televised May Day rock concert, which is held every year in front of the Saint John in Lateran basilica.

Though seemingly a small matter, the Vatican’s statement gives a glimpse at the type of thing coming for those who oppose the Roman Catholic Church in the future.