Four female activists from the Ukrainian group Femen took off their tops in St Peter’s Square on Sunday as the Pope was delivering his traditional weekly Angelus prayer.
The women had the words ‘Shut Up!’ and ‘In Gay We Trust’ written on their bodies.
“Homophobe shut up!” the activists yelled as the Pope spoke.
The activists were quickly detained after a number of Italian and Vatican police officers arrived on the scene.
The protest followed a decision last Friday in Italy’s Court of Cassation that granted custody of a child to his lesbian mother, the Vatican once again insisted that children need a mother and father.
The next day, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano carried an editorial by bioethicist Adriano Pessina suggesting that no one had a ‘right’ to a child.
“Monogamous families constitute the ideal place to learn the significance of human relations and represent the social and anthropological environment in which the best type of growth is possible,” Pessina wrote.
Meanwhile, a demonstration against marriage equality and gay adoption in the French capital of Paris on Sunday managed to draw hundreds of thousands after being strongly backed by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
France’s President, Francois Hollande, plans to allow for adoption by gay couples and introduce equal marriage laws by June however support for marriage equality has dropped by about 10 points to just 55 per cent of the community according to the latest opinion polls following a coordinated campaign involving the Catholic Church, Muslim groups and evangelical Christians.
The pressure has already seen French legislators drop reforms that would have allowed lesbians access to artificial insemination.