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Two children standing alongside Pope Francis threw white doves from the window of the Apostolic Palace this week in a gesture of peace … only to see the defenseless birds attacked by a sea gull and a black crow.

The pope – who has stumbled badly on politics and theology during his first year – was giving a prayer for peace in the Ukraine when the birds were released.  But the Vatican’s “Angry Birds” weren’t picking up the non-violent vibes.  One of them pinned a dove against the wall of the palace and repeatedly pecked at, while the other attacked a dove as it fluttered near a windowsill.

Both birds managed to escape … seemingly uninjured (with the exception of a few ruffled feathers).

The release of peace doves at the Vatican has been an exercise in futility of late.  In 2012, the doves released from the window actually flew back into the Apostolic Palace.

We can’t blame them. It’s a tough, tough world …