independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Pope Francis kisses his unimpressed mini-me

19-month-old Daniele De Sanctis, dressed up as a pope, is handed to Pope Francis as he is driven through the crowd during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. Photo: AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano
19-month-old Daniele De Sanctis, dressed up as a pope, is handed to Pope Francis as he is driven through the crowd during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. Photo: AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano

Pope Francis came face to face with his mini-me during Wednesday's General Audience in Vatican City, who appeared less than impressed at being greeted by the Pontiff.

Nineteen-month-old Daniele De Sanctis was not amused when his mother Paola Ciabattini hoisted him up to meet the Pope.

The toddler was dressed in a white cassock and cape, white skullcap and even a miniature pectoral cross designed by his grandmother for his audience with Francis, to celebrate the Italian Carnival.

During Carnival in Italy, children often go out after school and spend their weekends dressed up in pirate or princess costumes.

Carnival, also known as mardi gras, marks the period before the church's solemn Lenten season begins and pope outfits are becoming the new must-have costume.

Despite seeming perfectly happy earlier walking around St. Peter's Square in his pope costume, Daniele wailed as he was lifted up by his mother to receive a papal kiss as Francis drove by.

His costume even lead to VIP treatment from the Swiss Guards and being allowed through closed-off sections of the Square.

Ms Ciabattini said one of Daniele's grandmothers had made the costume, inspired when the boy used a hand towel as a cape after washing his hands.

"It was a gesture of love toward the Holy Father," she said. "We certainly didn't intend to make fun of him or the church in any way."

Additional reporting by The Associated Press

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