VATICAN CITY — Like a comic book showdown, Rome’s “decorum squad” took down the city’s latest hero when they scraped off and painted over the “Super Pope” street art very early this morning.
It marked a new city record given the piece went up Monday night and most illegal urban “decorations” are ignored for years. Notice the illegal cafe’ sign that quickly filled the void…
The artist, Mauro Pallotta, said he saw the censure coming. He told the Italian newspaper La Stampa that “city decorum” officials had been circling “dangerously close” to his piece on Wednesday.
“But the people’s reaction stopped them. There was a small revolution. They left, but they’ll be back,” he said. And right he was.
Pallotta said he draws and paints his “ecological” and removable street art onto paper that he then glues with a water-based adhesive to walls around his historic neighborhood of “the Borgo” — a series of small streets and low buildings near the Vatican.
While city painters scraped off his papered depiction of “Super Pope” and rolled on a fresh coat of paint, they didn’t bother with the street tagging on the rest of the wall or the graffiti plastered throughout the area.
Pallotta said he got the idea to draw the pope as superman when he was leafing through a superhero comic book while watching TV. A news story came on about Pope Francis and “It blew my mind like a short circuit: ‘Hey, the pope IS a superhero!’”
“The superpowers which I gave him represent the enormous power at his disposal, which he uses — the only world leader — to do good. He’s the only one who does what he says.”
However, Pope Francis would disagree with being equated with a superhero.
When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Bergoglio told the story of the dangers of trying to play “Tarzan” and boastfully thinking one person alone can save the world.
He says in the book, “Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words,” that when he was vicar general of the archdiocese, he brushed off a visitor looking to confess because he had a busy day ahead of him and needed to catch a train.
“I had an attitude of superiority, put another way, I was sinning…I was saying to myself, ‘Look how good I am, how great I am, how many things I can do.’ Pride affected my attitude,” the future pope said.
He said he since learned to “travel in patience” and realized that of all the things that need doing at work and in the world, it’s God who will always “sort out the story!”
“So often in life we ought to slow down and not try to fix everything at once! To travel in patience means: giving up the presumption of wanting to solve everything. You have to make an effort, but understand that one person cannot do everything.”
As he’s said elsewhere, you don’t need to be a superhero to be a saint; you just need to stick close to God.