‘Devil’ Trump kisses the Pope in life-sized mural pasted onto a wall near the Vatican two weeks before they are due to meet
Pope has a halo around his head while American president has devilish horns
The caption on the sash of the pope’s cassock reads ‘the good forgives the evil’
Francis and Trump will meet at the Vatican on May 24 during his tour of Italy
A life-sized mural that shows Donald Trump kissing Pope Francis on the lips has appeared on a wall near the Vatican.
The painting, which depicts the pontiff with a halo around his head while the American president sports devilish horns, was created in Rome on Thursday.
The caption on the sash of the pope’s cassock reads ‘the good forgives the evil.’
The mural – painted less than two weeks before the pair are due to meet – is signed ‘TVBoy,’ who is believed to be Italian street artist Salvatore Benintende.
The mural, which was painted on paper and pasted on to the wall during the night, was the latest work by street artists depicting the pope to appear in Rome in recent months.
This one shows Francis, wearing a simple crucifix around his neck, embracing Trump, who wears a gold watch and sports a pistol in a holster.
The pope’s halo is the same bright yellow colour as Trump’s hair. The two are locked in a mouth-to-mouth kiss.
‘It is very provocative but not too shocking for someone coming from America,’ said a Californian tourist who gave only his first name, Victor.
The mural was pasted on a wall on a street named ‘Way of the Bank of Holy Spirit’ across the Tiber River from the Vatican.
Francis and Trump are due to meet at the Vatican on May 24 while the president is on a tour of Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium.
In February the Pope repeated his appeal for people to build bridges not walls amid a global backlash over the Trump administration’s attempts to impose a travel ban on seven mostly Muslim countries.
The pope did not overtly refer to Trump in his comments but spoke on the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita – a 19th-century Sudanese slave who became a nun after migrating to Europe.
Sudan is one of the seven countries on the US travel ban list.
‘In the social and civil context as well, I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges,’ he said. ‘To not respond to evil with evil. To defeat evil with good, the offence with forgiveness. A Christian would never say “You will pay for that.” Never.’
Such murals depicting the pope eventually are taken down by a special group of Rome sanitation workers known as ‘The Decorum Squad’.
Local media have criticised the unit for removing popular art while unsightly graffiti blights many buildings and heaps of garbage pile up on sidewalks because of a collection backlog.