Vatican cardinal performs rite on desecrated altar in St. Peter’s Basilica after naked protest

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The head of St. Peter’s Basilica performed a special rite Saturday after a man stripped naked and hopped onto the main altar, which had the words “Save the children of Ukraine” written on its back.

After desecrating the altar, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti performed the penitential rite together with other priests and the faithful.

According to Vatican News, a Polish man approached the high altar of the basilica at the ceremony on Thursday, undressed and jumped onto the marble altar. Photos of the incident showed the bald man in only black socks and sneakers, with his back to the pews.

The man did not resist when gendarmes approached and took him to the Vatican police station. He was handed over to Italian police, who issued an expulsion order urging him to leave Italy, Vatican News reported.

It was the latest incident of rioting at the Vatican in recent months. Last summer, climate activists taped their hands to a statue in the Vatican Museums to draw attention to climate change; They are now on trial before the Vatican City State Tribunal for serious injury.

Political cartoons about world leaders

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Last month a man sped through the gates of Vatican City in a car at night, sped past gendarmes who shot at the vehicle. He made it into a courtyard of the Apostolic Palace before being stopped. He was taken to a nearby hospital for psychiatric treatment.

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