- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2011

ROME (AP) - The Vatican has slammed a giant new modernist sculpture that portrays John Paul II, saying the bronze work outside Rome’s main train station doesn’t even look like the late pontiff.

Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said Friday the towering statue gives the impression a bomb hit the square.

The artist, Oliviero Rainaldi, depicts the pontiff as if he is opening his cloak to embrace the faithful. But the Vatican says the effect is more like a police sentry box than a welcoming pontiff.

Some at the station Friday described the sculpture as hideous. Two tell the AP the figure looks more like the late dictator Benito Mussolini than the widely-beloved Polish-born pontiff.