As you no doubt know, Pope Francis is in Ireland this weekend. He arrived, as usual, on Alitalia flight AZ4000 (operated this time by an A320 appropriately registered in Ireland EI-DSY). Traditionally, the pilot waves the Vatican flag together with the flag of the host country on arrival at the destination airport.
But the Pope’s plane made just an embarrassing mistake when it landed in Dublin Saturday morning. The Vatican flag was upside down.
Flying the flag upside down is not innocent. It has a meaning. The flag is being flown upside down by protestors, who are urging the church to hold itself accountable for clerical abuse. An art installation in Temple Bar has been erected with the flag flying upside down as a ‘distress call’. In many countries, flying a flag upside down is a distress call and almost considered a desecration of the flag.
So, flying the Papal flag the correct way up is kind of important for the Pope and his entourage as they visit Ireland this weekend.
Luckily, somebody obviously quickly realised the error and fixed it before the Pope disembarked the plane.
Alitalia aircraft captain only had two jobs to do.
1, Fly the Pope’s plane
2, Fly the Pope’s flag.
Fortunately for everyone on board he only flew the flag upside down…. pic.twitter.com/OGWXl1j3UT
— Anthony Lawless (@ALGALWAY) 25 août 2018
Was the mistake due to the fact that the pilot was pretty upset because he had to circle several times before being allowed to land? Only God knows…
Pictures © Buzz.ie