Facelift for John Paul II statue with an unholy likeness to Mussolini

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A statue of the late Pope John Paul II, which some critics have claimed resembles the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, is – in true Italian style – about to receive some early cosmetic surgery.

The five-metre bronze monument, which rises from one of the flower beds outside Rome's main Termini train station, was unveiled on 18 May, on what would have been the late pope's 91st birthday. Its abstract rendering of John Paul, who was beatified on 1 May, features a heavy-set head on a minimalist, billowing cloak, intended to symbolise the pontiff's willingness to embrace his flock.

But the statue's tent-liked form, squashed facial features and bullet-shaped head did not go down well with church or layman. The Vatican's own L'Osservatore Romano newspaper tutted that the head was "excessively spherical". The public has been far blunter, suggesting that the green-tinged figure looked like Mussolini or even a creature from Star Trek. An online poll in La Repubblica newspaper suggested that 86 per cent of the public disliked the statue....

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