Bligbi blogged on the 18th the story of the Pope cancelling his visit to a Rome university following protests by secular professors and students.
Today "Tens of thousands of students, politicians and ordinary Romans thronged the Vatican on Sunday in a major show of sympathy for Pope Benedict after protests led him to cancel a speech at Rome's top university this week."
"Some waved banners denouncing the "censorship" imposed by members of La Sapienza university."
"Since his election in 2005, the conservative Pontiff has fought what he sees as efforts to restrict the voice of the Church in the public sphere, particularly in Europe. But his stand on issues like abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia has led critics in Italy to accuse him of meddling in politics."
"The protesters at La Sapienza criticized his views on science, saying a speech in 1990 showed he would have favored the Church's 17th century heresy trial against Galileo."
"Fabrizio Cicchitto, a senior member of conservative opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, called the rally a "testimony against the barbarians" who silenced the Pope."
"But leftist member of parliament Franco Grillini, a gay rights activist, said "politicians kissing the shoes of the Pontiff" showed "a painful lack of political autonomy"."