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Brooklyn Scandal - Pastor Apologizes for Controversial Music Video Filming
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Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, the pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Diocese of Brooklyn, issued a heartfelt apology to his parishioners for allowing a pop star to film a controversial music video within the sacred walls of their church. The apology comes in the wake of a scandal that has captured the attention of many and raised questions about the appropriate use of a place of worship.
Photo credit: Jakob Owens
The scandal revolves around the music video titled "Feather," featuring pop star Sabrina Carpenter, which has garnered more than 5 million views on YouTube. In the video, Carpenter is seen provocatively dancing on the altar of the historic 19th-century Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church. The scenes inside and outside the church have caused quite a stir, with Carpenter appearing at one point in the video with minimal clothing while profane decorations are scattered around and on the altar.
The controversial video takes an even darker turn as it portrays several men fighting over the singer and eventually meeting their demise, with their funeral coffins making their way into the Catholic church in the video. This depiction has left many in shock and disbelief.
Monsignor Gigantiello, who was initially disciplined for allowing the filming, wrote a letter to his parish on November 4, taking full responsibility for the matter. He emphasized that he had no prior knowledge of the explicit nature of the video that was to be recorded in the church. In an attempt to bring some positivity out of this unfortunate incident, he announced that the $5,000 received by the church for allowing the filming would be donated to Bridge to Life, a pro-life pregnancy center in College Point, New York. This, he hopes, will serve as a way to promote life in response to the negative event.
The apology from Monsignor Gigantiello coincided with a Mass of reparation celebrated by Brooklyn Bishop Robert Brennan at the same church. Bishop Brennan, in response to the controversy, not only celebrated the Mass but also took the step of removing all administrative oversight of the parish from Monsignor Gigantiello's hands. He appointed Auxiliary Bishop Witold Mroziewski as the temporary administrator of the parish pending an administrative review. Additionally, Monsignor Gigantiello was removed from his position as the diocese's vicar for development, a role he had held for 15 years.
In his letter, Monsignor Gigantiello acknowledged the deep disappointment and distress felt by many, not least of all himself. He described the video as provocative and asked for forgiveness from his parishioners, drawing inspiration from Christ's teachings of forgiveness.
Monsignor Gigantiello shed light on the background of the video shoot, explaining that a locally based film crew had approached the parish, presenting the filming as a production featuring Sabrina Carpenter. Trusting the intentions of the crew and the desire to strengthen the bond between the parish's young creative artists and the church, he agreed to the filming after a general check on the artists involved did not raise any red flags. Importantly, he clarified that he was not present during the filming and took the precaution of removing the Blessed Sacrament from the church before the shooting commenced.
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Despite losing administrative oversight, Monsignor Gigantiello will remain the pastor. While some have expressed concerns about the perceived disparity in consequences, he has humbly placed himself at the mercy of God and asked for forgiveness and prayers from his parishioners.
As the church continues to heal from this controversy, Monsignor Gigantiello remains committed to preserving the sanctity of the parish and its faith community, as he has done throughout his seven years as pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation. The incident has prompted personal reflection and a call to discern God's will amidst the challenges faced. The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, with its rich history and recent multimillion-dollar renovation completed in 2019, stands as a testament to the enduring faith of the community it serves.
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