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A mural of George Floyd painted in Atlanta, Georgia.Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images

WASHINGTON (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic University of America (CUA) has hung paintings of Jesus Christ bearing the features of George Floyd in two campus locations, according to reports.

The image, called “Mama” in an apparent reference to words Floyd can be heard saying before his death at the hands of Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin last year, portrays the Blessed Virgin cradling Jesus’ body. It was hung outside both the Mary, Mirror of Justice chapel at CUA’s Columbus School of Law and the university’s campus ministry office.

CUA is the only university within the U.S. to have been established by the bishops.

A student at the university told the Daily Signal that the image “has no place at The Catholic University of America; it is blasphemous and an offense to the Catholic faith.”

Despite the Catholic foundations of the university, the student said it was “not surprising at all that it was put there,” suggesting that the icon is “just another symptom of the liberalization and secularization of our campus.”

Although keen to raise concerns with the administration, the student added that “if we sound the alarm, we will be labeled racists.”

According to an accompanying plaque, “Mama” is “evocative of the Pietà,” a 15th century Michelangelo masterpiece of religious art depicting the dead Christ in the arms of his sorrowful mother. A spokesman for artist Kelly Latimore confirmed that the icon was created in the style of the Pietà.

Although describing the painting as having been completed “[f]ollowing the violent death of George Floyd,” CUA did not confirm whether Floyd was representative of Christ in the image in comments to the Daily Signal; however, Latimore said in an April interview that creating the image was “a way to mourn George Floyd.”

“The common question that people asked was, ‘Is it George Floyd or Jesus?’” Latimore said. “The fact they’re asking that question is part of the problem. My answer was yes.”

The painting was first unveiled back in February, at the conclusion of the Columbus School of Law’s “Black History Month program,” a news release on the law school’s website informs.

According to the release, university chaplain and director of campus ministry Fr. Jude DeAngelo, OFM Conv., “blessed the new icon with holy water” before law professor Regina Jefferson “led a call and response that called for the rejection of racism in both its active and passive forms.”

Last month, Pope Francis advocated for the destructive Black Lives Matter “protests” which broke out in the wake of Floyd’s death in the summer of 2020, describing those involved in the pro-abortion, anti-family movement as “collective Samaritans.”