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RIO DE JANEIRO (LifeSiteNews) — The mayor of Rio de Janeiro has sacrilegiously heralded a Taylor Swift-inspired projection on the city’s signature statue as a way for “Christ the Redeemer” to “honor her presence.” 

Mayor Eduardo Paes and the rector of the Sanctuary of Christ the Redeemer happily agreed to requests by Swift fans to light up the Christ statue in an act of welcome to the pop star as she performs in Brazil on tour.

The statue was emblazoned via projection on Thursday evening with the words “Welcome to Brazil” and the names of Brazilian states in a design reportedly inspired by a “Junior Jewels” T-shirt worn by Swift in her “You Belong with Me” music video.

Paes announced the homage to Swift in a Thursday morning post on X. Leonardo Ulths De Carvalho, 21, a Brazilian publicist who created the original Photoshopped rendering of the statue wearing a “Junior Jewels” shirt, shared a translation of the mayor’s message with USA Today:

Just to tell you Taylor Swift fans. The Swifties. Tonight, Christ the Redeemer will honor her presence. She is the Michael Jackson of modern times and for me, Madonna. Anyway, the oldest ones here have other records, but we’re going to have Taylor Swift duly honored for her arrival in Rio de Janeiro. Welcome, Taylor Swift. And stay happy, Swifties. Thanks!

Paes had responded to the “Swifties’” requests on X, “Dear @taylorswift13 fans, I’m going to ask dear Father Omar to see if we can get this honor. He’s the guy who runs the projections at @cristoredentor!”

Father Omar Raposo, the rector of the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary who oversees the projection at the statue, said in a Thursday news release that he would have a welcome message projected for Swift on the Christ the Redeemer statue if his church collected 20,000 units of panettone and water by 9 p.m. that evening to help the “vulnerable.” 

It is unknown whether his goal was met, but an X post by a Brazilian “Swiftie” (Swift fan) shows donated money has already been used for Panettone purchases.

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“We did it Swifties! You were able to show all the love to Taylor and everyone else!” Raposo said in a recent post on the Instagram account for the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary. 

Paes’ sacrilegious declaration that “Christ the Redeemer will honor [Swift’s] presence,” as well as Raposo’s acquiescence to using the image of Christ to promote secular causes – all without notable protest – show society’s deep, pervasive loss of the sense of the sacred, including the sanctity of He Who is infinitely holy, God Himself.

This decision to use the image of Christ to “honor” Taylor Swift also underscores the fact that celebrities of her status are given a level of reverence that nears worship. 

The move has been slammed on social media as “disgraceful,” although overall, social media users far more often celebrated the “Swiftie” image.

The statue of Christ the Redeemer is often used as a blank slate for the projection of images promoting cultural or social causes. For example, in July, the Christ statue was lit up with an image of a clock to mark Climate Emergency Day. In 2021, the statue was emblazoned with the sacrilegious message “Vaccine Saves.”