Pope Francis’ Awkward Moment With The ‘Papal Tyranny’ Plaque In Italy Today

Pope Francis cruised along Italy streets today, and was met with an awkward run-in with an ancient plaque that commemorates victims of “papal tyranny.”

Pope Francis, the 266th and current pope of the Roman Catholic church, visited Italy’s northern Emilia Romagna region today, and held a mass that was attended by some 50,000 people, WHIO reports. Pope Francis’ one-day visit to Carpi and Mirandola is an effort from the church to boost morale and faith in the area, following current rehabilitation in the region after a pair of deadly earthquakes five years ago.

The magnitude-6.1 and magnitude-5.8 quakes that killed 28 people in the Emilia Romagna region made news in 2012, but it was the exemplary rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts that brought together parties of opposing polarities that has drawn spotlight into the city. The country, where business, church, and political leaders often would collide, united in the effort to rebuild the cities.

One of the key points in the visit of Pope Francis is the Duomo cathedral of Carpi, which was heavily damaged by the earthquakes. The restoration of the cathedral took years, for which Pope Francis thanked the people of Italy. Before the mass that was held outside the cathedral, Pope Francis offered a bouquet of white flowers at the foot of a statue of the Madonna inside the newly-opened cathedral.

Pope Francis visits San Giacomo church in Mirandola and Duomo in Carpi [Image by AP Photo/Marco Vasini]
Pope Francis visit San Giacomo church in Mirandola, northern Italy, for a one-day pastoral visit to Carpi and Mirandola, Sunday, April 2, 2017. Greeted by tens of thousands of faithful, Pope Francis on Sunday visited Italy’s northern Emilia Romagna region that has largely been rebuilt after a pair of deadly earthquakes five years ago, an example meant to give hope to central Italy, which is still reeling from more devastating temblors last year. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini)

The pope said the following in his homily.

“There are those who remain buried in the rubble of life. And there are those, like you, who with the help of God rise from the rubble to rebuild.”

Traditional to papal visits in various countries, Pope Francis rode his white open popemobile and cruised along the streets of Italy after the mass. The pope did not anticipate, however, that he would have a rather awkward run-in with a historical plaque set on Carpi.

Reuters reports that along the route of the popemobile is a 136-year-old plaque honoring the victims of “papal tyranny.” Apparently, the large plaque is embedded on the side of a castle in the center of Carpi, and commemorates the 1870 unification of Italy, which is a point in Italian history that it says “emancipated human thought from papal tyranny.”

The unification of Italy in 1870 was one of the most crucial points in the country’s history, which was before a hodgepodge of kingdoms, duchies, city-states, republics, and the militarily powerful Papal States. The issue of papal tyranny and corruption in the Papal States and border areas was particularly rough in those times as war for power and sovereignty stretched for years. And when Italy was unified in 1870, many Italians were just tired of the violence and territorial hogging the then papacy exercised — this has left the papal territory being greatly reduced to Vatican City, Esquire elaborates.

The Catholic church’s dark past is common knowledge, but it’s a subject not many people of faith often want to broach.

We wouldn’t know if Pope Francis knew he would have such an awkward run-in with the papacy’s terrible history as he went down the streets of Carpi, but despite Pope Francis’ very close proximity from the plaque, he was also quite busy with all the waving and kissing that was happening around him to notice.

Pope Francis aboard the popemobile [Image by AP Photo/Antonio Calanni]
Pope Francis aboard the popemobile [Image by AP Photo/Antonio Calanni]

Before Pope Francis’ visit to Carpi, Catholic Herald placed him at the Sant’ Alessio-Margherita di Savoia Regional Centre for the Blind in Rome. The center is home to children and adults who are blind or severely visually impaired. Pope Francis’ visit to the center last Friday is the Vatican’s efforts to “continue the so-called Mercy Friday visits carried out during the Jubilee of Mercy.”

[Featured Image by AP Photo/Marco Vasini]