‘Dubia’ supporters storm St. Peter’s Basilica

VATICAN CITY—Terror struck the Vatican’s Capitol yesterday as Dubia protestors turned violent and stormed St. Peter’s Basilica, pushing past Cardinals and law-enforcement officers, breaking windows and vandalizing the hallowed grounds.

Cardinal Burke had gathered the crowd in St. Peter’s square in front of the Vatican to protest the results of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia. Burke garnered similar throngs of people in rallies ever since his surprise 2016 Dubia publication four years prior. Though such rallies would frequently be occasions for minor disruptions, never had they erupted in such violence before. 

Vatican clergy said they “feared for their lives” as the oddly-dressed rioters pushed over police barricades and yelled threats, like “Responde ad Dubia!” 

The Vatican’s Gendarmerie retreated in the face of the onslaught, taking hours to reestablish control over the situation after most of the protestors had dispersed on their own. Several relics were reportedly missing, including a podium seen carried away by a protestor that had belonged to St. Peter himself. 

Experts say this unprecedented display at the center of Catholicism is emblematic of the increasing polarization brought about by Burke’s rhetoric. The 72-year-old cleric has been known for his aggressive verbal battles with the press and his political opponents ever since rising to Cardinal. 

“We progressives in the Church were saying from the start that Burke being named Cardinal would lead to violence and destruction of the Church in ways we’ve never seen before,” Archbishop Blaise Cupich told us. “I hope now at least conservatives can see that we were right all along.” 

Indeed, the brazen attack on St. Peter’s even left many conservatives reeling, with former allies of Burke quickly condemning his inciting a riot. 

“I understand the frustration as Amoris Laetitia,” Bishop Joseph Strickland said. “But our Church has a system of norms and legal process to handle such matters and I cannot condone otherwise,” he continued. “Just wait until the Pope hears about this!”

Pope Francis could not be reached for comment. 

Originally published Jan 7, 2021