The University, which prides itself on its status as the pontifical University of the Catholic Church in the United States and the only institution of higher education founded by Catholic bishops in the U.S., held a ceremony in March celebrating the unveiling of Latimore’s “Mama.”
“The image is evocative of the Pietà—the Mother of Sorrows,” the description continues. “May Mary, the Mirror of Justice hear the cry of all who have known the sorrow of losing a loved one to violence and injustice. Amen.”
The piece, painted by artist Kelly Latimore, shows Floyd being held by the Virgin Mary, similar to religious depictions of Christ being taken down from the cross, the Daily Signal reported.
Catholic University appeared to shrug off responsibility for the painting Monday, telling The Daily Signal that artist Kelly Latimore’s painting “Mama” depicts “the Virgin Mary supporting the body of the dead Christ”—although the artist has indicated repeatedly that his painting depicts both Floyd and Jesus.
“You can identify Jesus by the marks in the halo,” Lozoya said. A description posted with the painting notes that the artist completed the work following "the violent death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020."
“The image is evocative of the Pietà — the Mother of Sorrows," the description continues. "May Mary, the Mirror of Justice hear the cry of all who have known the sorrow of losing a loved one to violence and injustice. Amen.”
Some students expressed their concerns regarding the piece of art.
“The icon has no place at The Catholic University of America; it is blasphemous and an offense to the Catholic faith, but it is not surprising at all that it was put there,” a student at the university told the Daily Signal. “It is just another symptom of the liberalization and secularization of our campus.”
“There are many students, faculty, and staff who are concerned about this, but there is nothing we can do,” the student continued. “And if we sound the alarm, we will be labeled racists.”
Latimore said he has received death threats and “spiritual denunciations” over the painting about once or twice a week. Many of these threats come from Eastern Orthodox individuals in Russia or Ukraine, the artist said.