Man burns Bible to disrupt mass

2011-10-23 17:17
A man holds a copy of the Holy Bible as he stands on the edge of the colonnade that surrounds St Peter's square at the Vatican, during a beatification mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI. (Pier Paolo Cito, AP)

A man holds a copy of the Holy Bible as he stands on the edge of the colonnade that surrounds St Peter's square at the Vatican, during a beatification mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI. (Pier Paolo Cito, AP) (Pier Paolo Cito)

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Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI named three new saints for the Catholic Church during a mass on Sunday in St Peter's Square that was disrupted by a man who climbed out onto the upper colonnade of the square and burned a bible.

Vatican gendarmes, a bishop and the pope's own bodyguard talked the man back from the edge of the colonnade after he shouted, "Pope, where is Christ?" in English and threw the burned bible to the crowd below.

Benedict and the thousands in the square appeared unfazed by the incident and carried on with the mass.

The disruption came toward the end of the two-hour service on Sunday to canonise three 19th-century founders of religious orders: Italian bishop and missionary Monsignor Guido Maria Conforti, Spanish nun Sister Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro and an Italian priest who worked with the poor, the Reverend Luigi Guanella.

On hand in the crowd was William Glisson jnr, from the Philadelphia area in the US, whose cure from a 2002 head injury was declared the miracle needed to canonise Guanella.

Glisson, then 21, had gone into a coma after falling while rollerblading without a helmet; he had two brain surgeries but his doctors didn't give him much hope, according to Guanella's biography.

A friend of the family who worked at a Guanella centre for the handicapped gave Glisson and his mother two of Guanella's relics, and the family prayed fervently to the Italian priest.

After nine days, Glisson came out of the coma and today works in the family construction supply business.

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Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  pope benedict xvi  |  vatican city  |  religion
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