Priest Resigns After Raunchy 'Atheist' Music Video Filmed in Cathedral

A priest has resigned from his role as the dean of Toledo Cathedral in Spain after the church featured prominently in a provocative new music video.

According to the Catholic News Agency, Father Juan Miguel Ferrer Grenesche submitted his resignation over what has been deemed an improper use of the place of worship.

The Archdiocese of Toledo Francisco Cerro Chaves told the news outlet: "The Dean expresses his request for forgiveness from the institution, on his own behalf and on behalf of the various elements of the cathedral chapter, insofar as they have had responsibility, for all the errors and faults that may have been committed by word, deed and omission in the recent events."

Fr. Ferrer's tenure in the role had been due to end on November 5, but he will now exit on October 16 in the wake of the controversy.

It comes after the 13th century cathedral featured as the backdrop of a music video for the song "Ateo," which translates as "Atheist" by Spanish rapper C. Tangana and Argentine singer and lyricist Nathy Peluso.

The promo sees the pair engage in a raunchy dance together within the confines of the cathedral while a series of entranced onlookers, including a priest, watch on.

At one point, Tangana is shown pulling on Peluso's hair while another striking tableau from the video sees a naked but pixelated Peluso holding Tangana's severed head.

Both images are apparent allusions to artwork that features inside the cathedral.

The song's lyrics, meanwhile, include the line: "I was an atheist, but now I believe, because a miracle like you had to come down from heaven."

The Catholic News Agency says Tangana paid 15,000 euros ($17,000) to use the venue. The resulting video was uploaded to YouTube on Friday, October 7. At the time of writing, it had received more than 6.8 million views.

In the immediate aftermath, Archbishop Francisco Cerro Chaves issued an apology to The Tablet, saying he "deeply regretted" the cathedral's involvement in the clip.

He said: "We humbly and sincerely ask for the forgiveness of all the faithful, whether lay people or priests, who have rightly felt wounded by this inappropriate use of a sacred place."

A special Mass was also scheduled for the following Sunday, October 17, by way of atonement while he pledged the cathedral would never again be used in this manner again.

However, the dean of Toledo cathedral was initially reluctant to apologize, telling the news outlet the song was a story of conversion through love, while acknowledging it was one that used "provocative visual language."

"We're sorry that some people may have been upset. We ask for forgiveness for hurting their feelings," Ferrer said.

"The aim was only ever to support a dialogue with contemporary culture while always respecting the faith of the Church."

A few days later, however, in a statement issued to the Spanish Press via Europa Press and translated by the Catholic News Agency, on October 12, Ferrer struck a different tone.

He acknowledged there had been a "communication problem" and someone from the church should have been present during the filming to note "the things that later caused some people to be scandalized."

"I acknowledge all criticism and that I have been wrong, but when they correct me, I like it to be done with charity and respect," he added.

"I am convinced that the music of one kind of guy or another, from our faith, what we are looking for is to do good to people and I hope that after all this pain and this controversy we will all strive to do some good to one another."

Tangana and Peluso have been approached for comment.

According to the Latin Times, this isn't the first time Tangana has landed himself in hot water, having previously courted controversy in August 2020 after posting a picture of himself to social media surrounded by bikini-clad women.

The entrance of Toledo Cathedral in Spain.
The entrance to Toledo Cathedral in Spain - the Dean of the cathedral has resigned after the religious venue was featured in a racy new music video. Getty/Pablo Cuadra/WireImage