Pope Francis kisses a child named Daniele, last name not available, dressed as a Pope, as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican. Picture: Alessandra Tarantino

Vatican City -

Pope Francis has a mini-me.

Francis kissed a child dressed up as a pope as the new must-have Carnival costume made its debut at the pope's general audience on Wednesday.

The child, who was crying, was hoisted up to Francis as he drove by in his open-topped jeep. Another child dressed in a similar white cassock and white skullcap was also on hand, as were kids dressed as Swiss Guards.

During Carnival in Italy, children often go to school and spend their weekends dressed up in pirate, princess - and now pope - costumes. Carnival, also known as mardi gras, marks the period before the church's solemn Lenten season begins. - Sapa-AP