Four women staged a topless demonstration in front of the Pope in St Peter's Square yesterday (13 January), protesting the Vatican's anti-gay views.
The protesters from Ukraine-based feminist group FEMEN took off their T-shirts to reveal the slogan 'In Gay We Trust' painted on their torsos and yelled 'Homophobe, shut up' as the Catholic leader gave a traditional prayer from his window.
The activists were removed by police after sparking anger from pilgrims, reported Reuters.
'Today we go with a message to the Pope to shut his mouth and not to give his advice to those people who decide to legalize gay marriage. We are here to protest homophobia,' demonstrator Inna Shevchenko told the Associated Press.
The Pope has consistently spoken out against homosexuality, saying gay marriages are a threat to the future of humanity.
Last week, the Catholic Church in Italy reacted angrily to the decision of the country's high court stating that gay parents are as good as straight ones.
Bishop Vincenzo Paglia went so far as to liken gay parenting to selling children.
The protest ended in violence, however, after members of the anti-gay rally turned on the 'nuns', allegedly punching and throwing objects at them.