Portuguese street artist criticizes Pope Francis’ visit with banknote carpet

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Alarmed by the official cost estimates of the papal visit, renowned Portuguese street artist Bordalo II has taken a stand by creating the pope’s walk of shame…

With the pope visiting a global gathering of young Catholics in Lisbon from 2-6 August, one Portuguese street artist has made quite the statement.

Alarmed by the official cost estimates of the event, a total of €161 million, renowned street artist Bordalo II has taken a stand by breaking into a Lisbon venue where Pope Francis will celebrate a mass this week.

The artist, known for his politically engaged art pieces, rolled out a massive carpet made of oversized €500 notes to criticize the excessive amount of money the state has spent on the event.

This protest, described by Bordalo II as the “walk of shame”, comes as millions of Portuguese citizens struggle with inflation and economic hardships.

In an Instagram post, the artist, whose real name is Artur Bordalo, wrote: “In a secular state, at a time when many people are fighting to keep their homes, their work and their dignity, millions of public funds have been invested to sponsor the tour of the Italian multinational. Habemus Pasta.”

The papal visit will be paid for by the Portuguese government, the city councils of Lisbon and neighbouring Loures, and the Catholic Church. The government’s share is estimated to be around €30 million.

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Bordalo is not the only one raising an eyebrow to the staggering costs of the event. In January, the mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, was attacked on social media after his office said it would spend €5 million on an altar for the Sunday mass. The city council eventually scaled back cost of the alter to €2.9 million.

Moedas responded to Bordalo’s protest by stating that the artist used his voice to express his concerns and that such protests were normal for these types of events.

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