Perhaps the last thing Pope Francis expected to find during a visit to the northern Italian city of Carpi on Sunday was a huge 136-year-old plaque honoring the victims of “papal tyranny”.
The pope passed right by the plaque while standing in his white open popemobile after saying Mass in a square a few dozen meters away during a day-long visit to an area hit by earthquakes in 2012.
Put up in 1881 on the side of castle in the center of town, the marble plaque measuring about 1 meter by 2 meters commemorates the 1870 unification of Italy, which it says “emancipated human thought from papal tyranny.”
The popemobile was moving very slowly as it passed so he could shake hands with faithful and kiss babies but it was not clear if he read the words on the plaque, one of many reminders in Italy of the country’s often violent past.
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