The Diocese of Brooklyn announced Saturday that a local pastor who allowed a pop star to shoot a lewd music video in the church no longer has administrative oversight over the parish.
Additionally, the diocese told CNA that Brooklyn Bishop Robert Brennan celebrated a Mass of reparation at the church on Saturday morning in response to the desecration.
“Through the offering of this Mass, Bishop Brennan has restored the sanctity of this church and repaired the harm,” the diocese said in a statement.
The music video, which has amassed over 3.6 million views, shows pop star Sabrina Carpenter dancing provocatively on the altar at the historic 19th-century Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Brooklyn.
The release of the video “Feather” on Oct. 31 triggered an uproar on social media and calls for a reconsecration of the church and prayers of reparation.
“Who is the pastor? Why did he allow this?” one social media post asked. “How on earth did the diocese allow this to happen?” another post asked.
The pastor, Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, did not respond to CNA’s request for comment on Nov. 2 and he was not immediately available for comment on Saturday. Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church merged with the nearby Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church to form Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation Parish in 2018.
Brennan said in a Nov. 2 statement that he was “appalled” to learn of the video and would investigate how it was allowed to take place.
In its statement Saturday, the diocese told CNA that “a review of the documents presented to the parish in advance of the production, while failing to depict the entirety of the scenes, clearly portray inappropriate behavior unsuitable for a church sanctuary.”
“In light of this,” the statement continued, “Bishop Brennan has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Witold Mroziewski as the temporary administrator of Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation Parish.” Mroziewski will assume “all administrative oversight” of the parish pending an administrative review that “will immediately commence,” the statement said.
“Additionally, Monsignor Gigantiello’s tenure as vicar for development for the diocese has concluded as of Nov. 3, 2023,” the statement said. John Quaglione, a spokesman for the diocese, told CNA Saturday that Brennan decided to remove Gigantiello from that role “following the filming of the music video.”
Brennan, assisted by the diocese’s vicar general, Monsignor Joseph Grimaldi, blessed the altar and the church with holy water Saturday, the diocese said. Father Michele Vricella, the parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation Parish, and one of the parish’s deacons, Deacon Michael Chirichella, assisted Grimaldi in stripping and preparing the altar for the blessing.
The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish was established in 1863, according to the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
For more than 100 years the church has been a home to Lithuanian Catholics, according to the Tablet, the diocesan newspaper.
Annunciation is “the only church in the New York metropolitan area that offers a weekly Sunday Mass in Lithuanian,” according to the Tablet.
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