Dean Defends Soft Porn in Spanish Cathedral

News: World News
by Jules Gomes  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  October 11, 2021   

Archbishop 'deeply regrets' raunchy 'Atheist' video filmed in sanctuary

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TOLEDO, Spain (ChurchMilitant.com) - The dean of a Spanish cathedral is justifying the filming of a raunchy video in the diocese's mother church even as his archbishop has apologized for the film featuring gyrating, nudity and a severed head. 

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Painting of demon yanking woman's hair in Toledo Cathedral

"The purpose has been exclusively to promote dialogue with contemporary culture, always preserving the faith of the Church," cathedral dean Fr. Juan Miguel Ferrer Grenesche said in a statement Friday. 

The semipornographic music video titled "Ateo" (Atheist) features Madrid rapper Antón Álvarez Alfaro, better known as C. Tangana, obscenely dancing with Barcelona-based Argentine singer Natalia (Nathy) Peluso, in Toledo's 13th-century cathedral.

"I want to make religion to your hair, your mouth and your face. And may the Virgen de la Almudena forgive me the things I do in your bed," the singers croon as a couple grind against each other in the gothic cathedral of St. Mary of Toledo.

The video, which has been viewed more than 2.2 million times since it was released Friday morning, shows a nude Peluso holding Tangana's severed head. The nudity has been partially pixelated. Tangana is shown yanking Peluso's hair.

The pulling of Peluso's hair echoes one of the paintings in the cathedral, which shows a demon pulling a woman's hair to stop her reaching salvation. The painting features the song's artwork on the cover page of the album.

The purpose has been exclusively to promote dialogue with contemporary culture, always preserving the faith of the Church.

In the video, a priest watches Peluso, who is gyrating in the cathedral entrance. As the two artistes come together, their bodies wrap around one another suggestively in the dark in front of a statue of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The final scenes of the video show the singers posing for photographs with an altar boy as the song returns to its refrain: "I was an atheist, but now I believe because a miracle like you had to come down from Heaven." 

'Conversion' and Contrition

"We are sorry that some people may find it unpleasant. We apologize if you have been able to hurt your sensitivity," Fr. Grenesche wrote in his qualified apology. The dean was undersecretary to the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship until 2014.


Walk-through of Toledo's 13th-century cathedral
 

Grenesche, who has a doctorate from Rome's Pontifical Athenaeum of Saint Anselm, defended the video on the grounds that it "presents the story of a conversion through human love" even though it "uses provocative visual language."

"It is a language typical of the culture of our time, and the good that it can produce in those far away has been attended to," claimed the dean, who also has a diploma in Sacred Art from Rome's Beato Angelico Institute.

We are sorry that some people may find it unpleasant. 

Dr. Grenesche argued the cathedral "has tried to maintain a sincere dialogue with the cultural manifestations of the moment, trying to respond to what the Church asks of us today" and insisted the video's lyrics were very precisely speaking of "conversion."

But in a press release published the same day on the archdiocesan website, Abp. Francisco Cerro Chaves said he "deeply regrets these events and disapproves of the images recorded in the first church of the archdiocese."

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(L to R) Dean Grenesche, Abp. Francisco Cerro Chaves

"We humbly and sincerely ask for forgiveness to all the lay faithful, consecrated persons and priests who have felt justly hurt by this improper use of a sacred place," apologized Chaves, who earned his doctorate in spiritual theology from Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University. 

The archbishop assured he would "review the procedure followed to prevent something similar from happening again" and would draft "a protocol for the recording of images for public dissemination in any church in the archdiocese."

Toledo Cathedral offers Holy Mass in the Mozarabic rite — and is said to be the birthplace of the liturgy. The term is derived from Arabic, "a would-be Arab" and the rite has its origins in the centuries when Spain was under Arab or Muslim rule. 

The archbishop assured he would 'review the procedure followed to prevent something similar from happening again.' 

In August, Tangana was accused of sexism after posting a picture of himself surrounded by women in bikinis to promote his song "Yate" (Yacht). He responded by posting the picture with his head superimposed on those of the women. 

The rapper replaced his own head with that of the singer Zahara, who was recently criticized by Spain's conservative Vox Party for dressing as the Virgin Mary on posters for a concert in Toledo.

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