On October 17, 2019, Brazilian justice system banned the construction of a giant statue of Our Lady of Aparecida in the State of São Paulo. It also ordered the dismantling of five existing works.
This decision follows a complaint filed by the Brazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics. The latter had indeed contested, “in the name of the principle of State secularism,” the financing by the municipality of Aparecida, through the State of São Paulo budgets, monuments intended to celebrate in 2017, the 300-year anniversary of the discovery of the image of the patron saint of Brazil. The association also complained that the works were or are intended to be set up on public spaces ceded by the then mayor.
In addition to the removal of five existing works, the court decision concerns a giant statue of Our Lady of Aparecida by the artist Gilmar Pinn. According to its promoters, the work was to exceed the dimensions of the statue of Christ the Redeemer of Rio de Janeiro, the famous “Corcovado,” 38 meters high.
The municipality said it would appeal this decision, ensuring that these works represent the identity of the city and that the entire municipal territory benefits from religious tourism.
Our Lady of Aparecida is a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary, discovered on October 12, 1717 by three fishermen in the Paraíba River.