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Catholic priest could be demoted after US pop star filmed provocative music video in church

Sabrina Carpenter
Sabrina Carpenter 'prays' at the altar in her music video

A Catholic priest has been stripped of his administrative duties after allowing a pop star to frolic around his church for a provocative music video.

Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, who was ordained in 1995, has been demoted after opening the doors of his New York church to be used as a set for a Sabrina Carpenter music video.

Dressed in a tulle top and tights, Carpenter uses the altar of Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation Parish in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as her stage as she parades around upright pastel-coloured coffins, one of which reads “rest in peace b----”.

The American singer struts around the church in faux-mourning for a number of her would-be-suitors whom she watched die.

Sabrina Carpenter
Sabrina Carpenter performs a sexy music video in a church in Brooklyn

A number of them are killed in mock but gory circumstances, including one who the former Disney child star leads to his death by pulling him by the tie until it gets caught in a lift.

The altar itself is festooned with an array of items including small statues and a vase, labelled RIP, containing a dark red liquid.

The Diocese of Brooklyn said it was “appalled” by the performance at the 19th-century Church of the Annunciation.

Robert Brennan, the Bishop of Brooklyn, ordered an inquiry into how the video for Carpenter’s new song Feather came to be filmed in the church.

Sabrina Carpenter in the music video filmed at Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation Parish in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Sabrina Carpenter in the music video filmed at Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation Parish in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Sabrina Carpenter in the music video filmed at Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation Parish in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Sabrina Carpenter in the music video filmed at Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation Parish in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

According to The New York Times, the video has been viewed more than 9.7 million times.

“Bishop Brennan is appalled at what was filmed at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Brooklyn,” the diocese said in a statement.

“The parish did not follow diocesan policy regarding the filming on Church property, which includes a review of the scenes and script,” it added, claiming that the production company had “failed to accurately represent the video content”.

The bishop also presided over a “mass of reparation” at the church following its alleged desecration.

The service was attended by around 50 people who, a diocesan spokesman said, had been visibly upset by what had happened.

Shortly afterwards, Monsignor Gigantiello was demoted.

He was stripped of all administrative duties and removed from his position as Vicar for Development for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The priest has since apologised in a post on the church’s Facebook page, calling the music video a “shameful representation”.

Sinead O'Connor rips up a picture of the Pope in 1992 on Saturday Night Live, upsetting the Catholic Church
Sinead O'Connor rips up a picture of the Pope in 1992 on Saturday Night Live, upsetting the Catholic Church

Monsignor Gigantiello explained he had been approached by a local film crew seeking somewhere to stage “a production featuring Sabrina Carpenter”.

After a search online to learn more about the singer “did not reveal anything questionable”, he gave the crew approval to use the church.

“In an effort to further strengthen the bonds between the young creative artists who make up a large part of this community and parish, I agreed to the filming after a general search of the artists involved did not reveal anything questionable,” Monsignor Gigantiello, who has been at the church for seven years, said. He was not present at the filming.

‘Many are upset over what transpired’

“The parish staff and I were not aware that anything provocative was occurring in the church nor were we aware that faux coffins and other funeral items would be placed in the sanctuary,” he said, adding most of the video was filmed outside the church.

“Undoubtedly many are upset over what has transpired, no more than myself.

“I ask that following the very example of Christ’s forgiveness, you find it possible to forgive my oversight in this unfortunate matter.”

Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello
Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello was demoted after letting a sexy music video be made in his church

Monsignor Gigantiello added that the $5,000 (£3,867) the church received from the production company would be donated to Bridge To Life Women’s Support Centre, a crisis pregnancy centre in New York.

The group was selected, the priest said, “so that from this negative event can come the promotion of life.”

The row is reminiscent of the furore in 1992 when the late Sinéad O’Connor ripped up a picture of the Pope when performing her song War on TV’s Saturday Night Live and the Church’s reaction to Madonna singing the pro-abortion Papa Don’t Preach in 1986.

There was some sympathy for the pastor, with some saying the punishment was harsh.

Louis Barricelli Jr., a third-generation parishioner, told the New York Times: “The punishment did not fit the crime.”

He estimated around 40 members of the priest’s former parishes came to show support at Nov. 19’s 10 a, Mass, which Monsignor Gigantiello celebrated. “We still love him,” he said. “We still back him.”

Thomas Casale, a former parishioner, said the church ought to have been monitored and that the pastor was a good man.

“I’m sure the majority of people will forgive him or don’t blame him.”