Breaking: PETA ‘Nun’ Confronts Pope in Verona to Urge Him to Condemn Bullfights


Verona – As Pope Francis visited the Verona Arena, a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (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. Holding a sign reading “Stop Blessing Bullfights,” the woman appealed to the Pope to speak out against the cruel blood sport.

A video of the action is available here.

“Pope Francis has written that ‘[e]very act of cruelty towards any creature is “contrary to human dignity”’, but matadors blessed by Catholic priests are still tormenting, stabbing, and slaughtering gentle bulls,” says PETA Vice President for Europe Mimi Bekhechi. “The Bible teaches mercy for all God’s creations, and in that vein, PETA urges the Catholic church to condemn bullfighting and sever its ties with these cruel spectacles.”

Many bullfighting festivals around the world are held in honour of Catholic saints. During the events, assailants on horses drive lances into a bull’s back and neck before others plunge banderillas into his back, causing the animal agony whenever he turns his head and impairing his range of motion. Eventually, when the bull becomes weak from blood loss, a matador appears and attempts to kill him by plunging a sword into his lungs or, if that fails, cutting his spinal cord with a knife. The bull may be paralysed but still conscious as his ears or tail are cut off as a trophy and his body is dragged from the arena. Tens of thousands of bulls are tortured and killed in this way every year.

As early as the 16th century, figureheads of the Catholic Church have condemned bullfighting. Now-canonised Pope Pius V even banned the blood sport, which he described as “cruel and base spectacles of the devil and not of man” and contrary to “Christian piety and charity”. Catholic priests often officiate at religious ceremonies in bullrings and minister to bullfighters in arena chapels, and some even attack bulls in arenas while dressed in a cassock.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Facebook, X, TikTok, or Instagram.


Sascha Camilli +44 (0) 20 7923 6244; [email protected]