A group of protesters demonstrating against Pope Benedict XVI's opposition to gay marriage were swiftly turned away by police as they attempted to enter St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Sunday as the Holy Father appeared at his studio window to give his weekly address to pilgrims and tourists.

Police blocked the activists from entering the square.

The demonstrators, estimated at 15, carried signs in Italian and English with sayings such as “Homophobia = death,” “Marriage for all” and “Gay unions don't harm peace, weapons do.” The AP reported that police confiscated the placards of four activists.

In his message for the January 1 World Day of Peace, Benedict suggested that marriage equality harms justice and peace.

Gay unions are an “offense against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace,” Benedict said.

“We find intolerable the assertion that gay unions are dangerous to the world,” Gianfranco Mascia, 52, who organized the protest, told Reuters. “Weapons are much more dangerous. No to arms, yes to rights for everyone.”

(Related: Pope Benedict: Gay marriage is an attempt to harm society.)