A sacrilegious painting of George Floyd depicted as Jesus being cradled by Mary has been stolen, twice, from the Catholic University of America in DC.
The painting, titled “Mama” by Kelly Latimore was hung up at the university in February in both the campus ministry office and its law school — despite outrage by many students and parents.
In November, the Daily Signal reported on the painting and it was stolen shortly after. The painting was replaced with a smaller version of the same, and has now been stolen again.
“Following the violent death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, Latimore created this icon in June of that year,” a description on the sign stated, in photographs obtained by the Signal.
“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.”
A petition to remove the paintings generated over 5,000 signatures.
On Monday, the university president apologized for having the piece hanging on campus.
“Many saw the figure in the arms of Our Lady as a divinized George Floyd,” said the University President John Garvey.
“This interpretation led to accusations that the work was blasphemous, something that is contrary to the respect due to God and his holy name. Regardless of your interpretation, it created needless controversy and confusion, for which I am sorry.”
The remarks stand in stark contrast to their original statement.
When the Daily Signal first reported on the paintings, Karna Lozoya, vice president for university communications, acknowledged that “you can identify Jesus by the marks in the halo.”
The artist has also repeatedly stated that it is meant to be “both.”
The university also held a ceremony in March celebrating the unveiling of the painting.