The video for 24-year-old Carpenter’s single “Feather” was released on 31 October, and has now been viewed 11 million times on YouTube.
Parts of the video were filmed at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Annunciation Parish, a Roman Catholic Church in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
In the video, several men fight over Carpenter and eventually kill each other. Their pastel-coloured coffins are displayed upright in the church, while Carpenter sings and dances in a short black dress.
Within days of the video’s release, the church’s pastor Monsignor Jamie J Gigantiello had been stripped of his administrative duties for failing to follow policy on allowing filming on church property.
Bishop Robert J Brennan then led a Mass of Reparation at the church, which the diocese said “restored the sanctity of this church and repaired the harm”.
In a statement to the Catholic News Agency, the Diocese of Brooklyn said that it was “appalled at what was filmed.”
Sabrina Carpenter performing at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards.— (Jason Kempin/Getty Images for MTV)
Gigantiello also apologised to parishioners in a post on the church’s Facebook page on 6 November. “Undoubtedly many are upset over what has transpired,” he wrote. “No more than myself.”
He said that a local video crew had approached him in September about filming a music video for Carpenter at the church, and that his online research into the singer “did not reveal anything questionable”. He said he approved filming as part of an “effort to further strengthen the bonds between the young creative artists who make up a large part of this community”.
Although he gave his permission for filming to take place, Gigantiello maintained that “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.”
Gigantiello said that the $5,000 the parish received for allowing the video to be filmed would be donated to Bridge to Life. He concluded: “After much prayer and reflection over the last few days, I have come to the realization that this maybe God’s way of calling me to reflect on my great number of responsibilities in order to discern His will.”
The Independent has approached Carpenter’s team for comment.