Brooklyn pastor apologizes for provocative music video filmed in church — By: Catholic News Agency

Bishop Robert Brennan blesses the altar at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Brooklyn, New York, with holy water on Nov. 4, 2023, in response to the filming of an indecent music video in the church. Assisting the bishop is Monsignor Joseph Grimaldi, vicar general of the Diocese of Brooklyn. / Credit: John Quaglione/DeSales Media

CNA Staff, Nov 7, 2023 / 13:35 pm (CNA).

A Brooklyn pastor who was disciplined after he allowed a pop star to shoot a lewd music video in his church wrote a letter to his parish Nov. 4 taking “full responsibility” for the matter while adding that he had “no knowledge” that “such a scene” would be filmed in the church.

Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Diocese of Brooklyn, said in the letter that the $5,000 paid to the church for the filming of the video will be donated to Bridge to Life, a pro-life pregnancy center in College Point, New York, “so that from this negative event can come the promotion of life.”

The Oct. 31 video “Feather,” which has amassed over 5 million views on YouTube, shows pop star Sabrina Carpenter dancing provocatively on the altar of the historic 19th-century Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church.

The video included scenes shot both inside and outside the church. Carpenter appeared at one point in the video with no pants while profane decorations lay atop and around the altar.

The video depicted several men fighting over the singer and eventually killing each other over her; their funeral coffins appear to end up in the Catholic church in the video. 

In his letter Gigantiello said he offered his “sincere apologies to our faithful parishioners for this shameful representation, which I wholeheartedly renounce.”

CNA reached out to Gigantiello for comment but did not immediately hear back on Tuesday.

Gigantiello’s apology came the same day that Brooklyn Bishop Robert Brennan celebrated a Mass of reparation at the church and removed all administrative oversight of the parish from Gigantiello’s hands. 

Brennan appointed Auxiliary Bishop Witold Mroziewski as the temporary administrator of the parish pending an administrative review and removed Gigantiello as the diocese’s vicar for development, a position he held for 15 years.

Gigantiello’s letter, which was posted on X by “EWTN News In Depth” correspondent Mark Irons, acknowledged that “many are upset over what has transpired, no more than myself.”

He called the video “provocative” and asked that “following the very example of Christ’s forgiveness, you find it possible to forgive my oversight in this unfortunate matter.”

Gigantiello said in the letter that a “locally based film crew” approached the parish asking to use the church “for what was presented as a ‘production featuring Sabrina Carpenter.’”

“In an effort to further strengthen the bonds between the young creative artists who make up a large part of our community and the parish, I agreed to the filming after a general search of the artists involved did not reveal anything questionable,” he wrote. 

Numerous recent videos and pictures posted to Carpenter’s social media feeds reveal images of the 24-year-old in risqué clothing, often provocatively dancing or posing.

Gigantiello said that he was not present for filming but added that he removed the Blessed Sacrament from the church prior to shooting. 

“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. Most of the video was supposed to be filmed outside, near the church, which it was,” he wrote.

“While I take full responsibility for the erroneous decision to allow the filming, I want to assure you that I had no knowledge that such a scene would be filmed in our church, which we worked so hard to restore to its present sacred beauty,” the priest wrote.

“I further affirm that a lapse in judgment such as this will never take place again as I fully devote my every action to preserving the sanctity of the parish and faith community with which I am entrusted as I have done over my seven years as pastor here at Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation,” he wrote. 

Although Gigantiello no longer has administrative oversight of the parish, Brennan allowed him to remain the pastor.

“Many people have expressed to me that they feel these consequences and the extent of my lack of due diligence are not equal, but I place myself at the mercy of God. All I ask of you is your forgiveness and prayers and that you be at my side, as I have been for you as I have been for the last 29 years of my priesthood,” he wrote.

“After much prayer and reflection over the last few days, I have come to the realization that this may be God’s way of calling me to reflect on my great number of responsibilities in order to discern his will,” he wrote.

Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation that was completed in 2019, according to The Tablet, the diocese’s news outlet.

For more than 100 years the church has been a home to Lithuanian Catholics, the outlet reported.

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