In the United States, a Catholic priest faced consequences as he was relieved of his administrative duties for allowing pop sensation Sabrina Carpenter to film a music video within his church, specifically at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation Parish in Brooklyn.
The 24-year-old former Disney child star, recognized for her substantial Instagram following exceeding 31 million, generated controversy within the Catholic community with a video showcasing her dancing through the church premises while adorned in a short black dress and veil.
The video, released on Halloween to coincide with the launch of Carpenter’s latest song, included scenes mimicking a funeral, raising eyebrows and causing an uproar among the faithful. The Diocese of Brooklyn swiftly took action, stripping Monsignor Jamie J Gigantiello of his administrative responsibilities, citing a breach of diocesan policy regarding the use of church property for filming.
According to the diocese’s statement to the Catholic News Agency, Monsignor Gigantiello had given approval for the filming but failed to adhere to the established protocols, which include a thorough review of the script and scenes. The Diocese expressed its shock at the content produced, stating that it was “appalled at what was filmed.” The controversial video has since garnered nearly ten million views, fueling the controversy and discontent within the Catholic community.
In response to the public outcry, the Diocese of Brooklyn organized a Mass of Reparation, aimed at restoring “the sanctity of this church and repairing the harm” caused by the unauthorized video shoot. This move, seen as an effort to mend the rift within the congregation, reflects the gravity with which the diocese views the incident and its commitment to preserving the sacred nature of its churches.
Monsignor Gigantiello expressed remorse over the incident, claiming that the final edit of the video did not align with what he had been led to expect. In a statement, he stated, “I am genuinely sorry and I deeply regret the incident that took place and any distress that my actions may have caused.” The priest’s apology appears to acknowledge the dissonance between his intentions and the outcome, suggesting a misunderstanding or miscommunication between the priest and the pop singer’s team.
The controversy highlights the delicate balance churches must navigate when allowing external entities to use their premises for non-religious activities. While some argue that such collaborations can foster positive engagement and outreach, the incident in Brooklyn underscores the potential pitfalls and sensitivities involved. The Diocese of Brooklyn’s swift response indicates a commitment to upholding the sanctity of its spaces and preserving the respect and reverence associated with places of worship.
The viral nature of the video, with its ten million views and the ensuing public outrage, raises questions about the responsibilities of both religious leaders and external individuals when engaging in such collaborations.