A 51-year-old man poured gasoline all over himself then set himself on fire in Saint Peter's Square on Thursday morning. The man did not die but was severely burned and transported to a hospital near Vatican City. The man's burns could not be treated at the first hospital so he was transferred to a larger facility with a more adequate burn unit. The man suffered serious burns to the upper part of his body. No motive for the apparent attempted suicide is known. The unidentified man was holding a piece of paper with his daughter's phone number on it.

A statement from the Vatican said a Jesuit priest had attempted to smother the flames with his jacket. Two police officers rushed to help the priest smother the flames. Eventually a fire extinguisher was found and used to put out the flames. The three men were also taken to the hospital and treated for injuries to the hands and smoke inhalation. Following the incident Vatican police would not let reporters into Saint Peter's Square. This is not the first time a man set himself a blaze inside Vatican walls.

On Jan. 13 1998 Alfred Ormando set himself on fire out of protest of the Church's proscription of homosexuality. "I hope they'll understand the message I want to leave," Ormando wrote in a letter. "It is a form of protest against the Church that demonizes homosexuality and at the same time all of nature, because homosexuality is her offspring." In other Vatican news Pope Francis recently celebrated his 77th birthday by inviting some of the homeless that sleep outside the Vatican to breakfast. Francis was also honored by "The Advocate" a gay rights magazine as "Person of the Year."

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