Catholic University painting of George Floyd as Christ is 'heretical', says student

Kelly Latimore's painting is titled 'Mama' and shows a mother mourning her son, evoking Michelangelo's sculpture 'La Pieta'


                            Catholic University painting of George Floyd as Christ is 'heretical', says student
Blayne Clegg, a junior at the Catholic University of America, called the painting 'heretical, blasphemous idolatry' (Columbus School Of Law and Twitter)

A student has slammed a painting of George Floyd depicted as Jesus Christ displayed at a Catholic university, calling it "heretical, blasphemous idolatry". Blayne Clegg, a junior at the Catholic University of America, said he was shocked when he spotted the painting hung outside the law school’s chapel some weeks ago.

"There's a fine line between recognizing the innate dignity and righteousness of human beings that are made in the image of God and embracing brazen, progressive politics," Clegg told Fox News. Kelly Latimore's painting is titled 'Mama' and shows a mother mourning her son, evoking Michelangelo's sculpture "La Pieta", the school said. Michelangelo's work shows the virgin mother Mary holding Jesus Christ. A painting identical to this one can be seen hanging in the campus ministry office. 

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Clegg said that the students' reaction to the painting has been "universally negative". "I haven't found anybody who's been able to give a serious theological justification for this kind of heretical, blasphemous idolatry," he said. "Jesus has been depicted as many different races, but Jesus is always depicted as nothing but Jesus, the sinless son of Almighty God," Clegg continued. "There has never, to my knowledge, been any serious, respected Catholic theologian or icon maker who has depicted Jesus Christ as another human being."

'Mama' was unveiled by the university as part of Black History Month, revealed a March news release from the law school’s website. "With the conclusion of Catholic Law’s Black History Month program, which boasted an impressive list of events throughout the month of February, the Catholic Law community held an unveiling and blessing of a new icon for the Law School’s Mary Mirror of Justice Chapel. The icon, Kelly Latimore’s “Mama,” was created following the death of George Floyd and is evocative of the Pieta—a mother mourning her son," the release read.

"Dean Stephen Payne opened the program, reciting "Solidarity" by Maya Angelou and reminding all that “diversity is a divine gift we should cherish.” Sister Ruth and Father Jude said a prayer, read from the book of Isaiah, and blessed the new icon with holy water. Professor Regina Jefferson led a call and response that called for the rejection of racism in both its active and passive forms. To conclude, Assistant Dean Shani Butts shared "I Dream a World" by Langston Hughes," it added.

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was murdered near the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Derek Chauvin, who was then a police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, was found guilty of the crime.