There’s a right way and a wrong way to get attention for your cause. Crashing the Pope’s New Year’s Day Mass in Peter’s Square, climbing onto the scaffolding and unfurling a banner that reads “Pope Stop Terrorism” is definitely the wrong way.
That’s what Romanian-born activist Julian Jungarean did, though. And this isn’t the first time he’s made his point by trespassing on the higher levels of Vatican property. He once scaled the Bernini colonnade, the great arms reaching out from St. Peter’s Basilica to embrace the Square.
I wonder just how, exactly, Jungarean expects Pope Benedict to stop terrorism. Its perpetrators are not adherents of the Catholic Faith—but even if they were, one can argue that too many regular, pew-sitting Catholics are not particularly obedient to the Pope and to Church teaching. In 2008, the Vatican established an “anti-terrorism squad” to protect the Pope and the Vatican from potential terrorist acts. But why would terrorists, of the Islamic variety or others, stop their pillaging and plundering at the urging of the Roman Pontiff?
Good news: No one was hurt in this escapade. The Pope seemed, according to reports, to be surprised but not disturbed. The Mass continued as scheduled. The protestor was confronted by uniformed guards on the ground and on a nearby rooftop; but no weapons were drawn, and he was eventually safely brought to the ground and taken away.