PETA Urges the Pope to Cut the Catholic Church’s Shameful Ties With Bullfighting

Posted by on May 18, 2024 | Permalink

Thousands of bulls are mercilessly tortured and killed each year during Catholic celebrations. Rather than upholding Christ’s teachings of love and mercy, the Catholic Church is actively supporting these sadistic spectacles. As numerous countries are wisely banning this sick form of “entertainment”, Pope Francis must immediately denounce this blood sport and cut the Catholic Church’s shameful ties with bullfighting. Here are our latest campaign updates:

Update (18 May 2024): ‘Nun’ Confronts Pope in Verona to Urge Him to Condemn Bullfights
As Pope Francis visited the Verona Arena, a PETA supporter dressed as a nun confronted Pope Francis as he passed in his vehicle and urged him to end the Catholic church’s shameful ties to bullfighting.

Update (13 May 2024): ‘Bullfighting Is a Sin’ Ad Appears in Spanish Newspaper El País
Do you remember our anti-bullfighting images on buses in Rome ahead of Easter? Readers of the Spanish newspaper El País will find it as a full-page ad in the publication to coincide with the start of the Feria de San Isidro – Madrid’s annual month-long festival dedicated to its patron saint, Isidro, during which hundreds of bulls will be tortured to death in the city’s Las Ventas bullring.

Update (28 April 2024): Venice Biennale Disrupted
Amid the hustle and bustle of the Venice Biennale, PETA supporters disrupted Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy See pavilion. They used the opportunity to grab His Holiness’ attention using signs, following the celebration of Holy Mass in Saint Mark’s Square.

Update (27 March 2024): PETA’s ‘Bullfighting Is a Sin’ Appeal Hits Vatican City
In time for Easter and ahead of the First Meeting of Bullfighting Chaplains and Priests in Zamora, Spain, PETA placed a provocative message in Rome showing an image of Jesus protecting a bull from a matador. It has been plastered on 100 billboards across the city, including near Vatican City, at major tourist attractions, and even on the back of a sightseeing bus.

Update (25 January 2024): Activists Disrupt Prayer Service, Beg Pope Francis to Condemn Bullfights
PETA activists disrupted a prayer service at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome attended by Pope Francis, pleading with His Holiness to cut the Catholic Church’s ties with bullfighting and condemn the despicable blood sport.

Update (15 December 2023): Pope Francis Receives Gruesome Gift From Daniela Martani and PETA
Singer and TV personality Daniela Martani delivered a gruesome gift to the Vatican for Pope Francis’ 87th birthday. Courtesy of PETA, a bottle of “blood” was sent to His Holiness. Emblazoned with an urgent appeal for the Catholic Church to cut ties with bullfighting, the note on the bottle reads, “The Church Has Bulls’ Blood on Its Hands: Denounce Bullfighting!”

21 October 2023: Italian Actor Loredana Cannata Begs Pope to Cut Ties With Bullfighting
As prominent Catholics gathered at the Vatican for the Synod on Synodality, actor Loredana Cannata joined PETA supporters who were demonstrating nearby dressed as “bloodied bulls” with banderillas sticking out of their backs.

5 October 2023: Catholic Priests Ask Pope Francis to Sever Church’s Ties With Bullfighting
Three Catholic priests from the UK, France, and Canada have joined PETA in urging Pope Francis to sever the Roman Catholic Church’s ties with bullfighting.

The priests have written a letter to His Holiness pointing out that the “torture and violent slaughter” of bulls is contrary to Christ’s teachings as well as to the pope’s own principles of mercy and respect. Learn more here.


23 October 2023: ‘Giant Nuns’ Call On Pope Francis to Cut the Church’s Ties With Bullfighting
PETA supporters – perched on stilts and dressed as nuns – joined animal advocacy group Catholic Concern for Animals in Marseille today during Pope Francis’ visit, urging him to publicly condemn the cruel torture of bulls.

28 July 2023: Vatican Protest Urges Pope to Denounce Bullfighting
To launch PETA’s campaign, Italian singer and TV personality Daniela Martani joined PETA supporters alongside local animal advocacy groups ENPA and Animalisti Italiani outside Vatican City.

Bull Torture Is Anything but Christian

Bullfighting – a ritualised massacre – couldn’t be further removed from Christ’s teachings of love and mercy towards every living being. The Bible asks us to be compassionate to all of God’s creations, yet bulls are being tortured in the name of saints.

His Holiness Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical Laudato Si’ that “every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity’”. As early as the 16th century, the now canonised pope Saint Pius V banned bullfights because they’re “cruel” and contrary to “Christian piety and charity”. This ban, which forbids priests and other clergy from attending bullfights and precludes such events from taking place on religious holidays, is technically still in place today. However, because of the Church’s failure to enforce this ban, Catholic priests officiate at religious ceremonies in bullrings and even minister to bullfighters in chapels built inside arenas.

Bloodbaths and Ritualised Executions

During these bloody executions, the bulls are tormented and stabbed with spears and banderillas until they’re weak and defenceless. Then, a matador stabs the animal with a sword. Often, the bull drowns in his own blood when his lungs are pierced instead of his heart. Finally, a knife is used to cut the bull’s spinal cord and he is dragged away – just as another bull is forced into the ring to endure the same fate.

Take Action for Bulls

Pope Francis is widely celebrated for his kindness to animals, so PETA is calling on him to take a stand against these abominable spectacles and let the 1 billion Catholics around the world know that bullfights go against Christian virtues.

Please sign our petition to Pope Francis urging him to publicly denounce the cruelty of bullfighting spectacles in the Church’s name: