Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mar 30, 2022 / 16:00 pm
The Court of Justice of São Paulo has authorized the construction of a statue of Our Lady in Aparecida, after a more than two year legal battle involving an association of atheists who wanted to prevent the installation of the Marian image.
The monumental stainless steel statue donated by artist Gilmar Pinna in 2017 is about 165 feet tall, nearly 65 feet taller than Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer. The pieces of the work, which remained in the construction stage, are located near the Rodovia Presidente Dutra, the main highway between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
In October 2019 Judge Luciene Ferreira Allemand ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by the Brazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics to prohibit the installation of the work, alleging the supposed use of public funds and the alleged donation of municipal land to promote the Catholic faith, which would be detrimental to the secular state.
However, the city appealed the decision, and on March 9 the judges of the Ninth Chamber of Private Law of the Court of Justice of São Paulo reversed the ruling and determined that the work of art is justified because the main economic focus of Aparecida is religious tourism, which attracts thousands of people and promotes local commerce.