The legal direction of the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro told RJ2 that it will file a criminal complaint against the episodes that involved Father Omar Raposo, rector of the Cristo Redentor Sanctuary, accessing the chapel at the foot of the statue in Tijuca National Park.
This Saturday morning (11), Father Omar was going to celebrate a christening in the place, but his delegation was prevented from going up under the allegation that “it was not authorized”.
The Sanctuary contested and stated that the event was previously communicated to the park.
“The Archdiocese will have to take measures, through criminal representation, precisely to prevent other typical facts like the one we witnessed today, a crime, from repeating itself,” said Claudia Milione, legal director.
Father Omar informed that he will embark this Sunday (12) for Rome where he will discuss recent acts of hostility with the Vatican.
This was not the first time he was stopped at the site by security guards from the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity (ICMBio), according to the Sanctuary. Father Omar released a video, recorded eight days ago, which shows the moment when he was prevented from reaching a celebration in Christ.
In the images, the dean himself reports that the gate is locked and that passage is being denied by the guards.
Father Omar also said it starts this Saturday a vigil to occupy the sanctuary. The proposal is that different Catholic communities participate in the vigils until the 90th anniversary of Christ the Redeemer, on October 12th.
Father Omar, the rector of the statue of Christ the Redeemer — Photo: Disclosure / Shalom RJ
The plateau where the statue of Christ is located, at the top of Corcovado, belongs to the Catholic Church, which manages and preserves the postcard.
The entire area, however, is managed by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio). The municipality also controls the complex’s stores — which are now closed — and all vehicle accesses in the Tijuca Forest. For years, the Catholic Church, shopkeepers and the Ministry of the Environment have disputed control of the points of commerce in Cristo Redentor.
Earlier, the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary released a repudiation note against ICMBio (see full text at the end of the article).
The note cites the occurrence of this Saturday and other “hostile acts”.
“In recent months, the posture of the security guards of the Tijuca National Park it has been hostile towards the rector of the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary, Father Omar, and towards the employees of the Sanctuary”, says one of the excerpts of the note.
At another point, the Sanctuary reports on other events.
“Recurringly, Father Omar, bishops and other religious, together with faithful and guests of the Church who participate in masses, weddings, baptisms and cultural actions promoted by the Sanctuary, experience constraints when accessing the Sanctuary”, he explained.
This Saturday afternoon, the Chico Mendes Institute released a note on Father Omar’s account of the baptism: “For reasons of safety of visitors and environmental conservation of some National Parks, all vehicles that access restricted areas must identify themselves.
Also according to ICMBIO, “eventually, this check may take a little longer, due to the number of attendees at events and on weekends.”
Guardhouse on the access to Estrada das Paineiras, which leads to the Cristo Redentor Sanctuary — Photo: Reproduction/Google StreetView
The incidents, according to the Sanctuary, take place at the intersection of Rua Almirante Alexandrino and Estrada das Paineiras. There is a security guardhouse for the Tijuca National Park, managed by ICMBio.
On the 3rd, guests from the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro were unable to arrive for a liturgical celebration. “After the prayer, breakfast would be offered to the guests free of charge. The Tijuca National Park also vetoed access to water for guests,” says the note.
On September 2, employees of the outsourced company that manages the lighting at Cristo Redentor, who have vehicles authorized for work, were also barred. “They were going up to light the monument in green in an action for organ donation”, the text details.
“In the same way, the vehicles of the State Department of Health, whose license plate, model and color information had already been sent to the Tijuca National Park, were also barred from the guardhouse”, he points out.
Read the full note released by the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary
The Cristo Redentor Sanctuary repudiates the hostile acts of the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), an autarchy under a special regime, linked to the Ministry of Environment, against the Archdiocese of São Sebastião in Rio de Janeiro.
Recurringly, the rector of the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary, Father Omar, bishops and other religious of Rio de Janeiro, together with faithful and guests of the Church who participate in the
Masses, weddings, baptisms and cultural actions promoted by the Sanctuary of Christ the Redeemer, face constraints to access the Sanctuary. Tijuca National Park managers make the right of way unfeasible, among other vilifying actions.
Today, once again, Father Omar and the faithful were prevented from accessing the Christ the Redeemer Shrine when they were on their way to a baptism, scheduled at 7:30 am. The priest, the child and family
were stopped in the guardhouse located on Estrada das Paineiras, which gives access to the Sanctuary.
After we were, in the year 2019, several months without operation of the escalators and elevators in the Alto Corcovado region, forcing the elderly and people with disabilities to go through numerous difficulties and constraints, once again we were at the mercy of ICMBio, from the employees of the Tijuca National Park.
On September 3, we were once again embarrassed and in a liturgical celebration where guests from the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro were unable to reach the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary. After the prayer, breakfast would be offered to the guests free of charge. Tijuca National Park also vetoed access to water for guests, violating the fundamental right to health and well-being of those present.
On September 2, employees of the outsourced company that manages the lighting of Cristo Redentor, who have vehicles authorized to work, were stopped at the guardhouse on Estrada das Paineiras by security guards hired by the Tijuca National Park. They were going up to light the monument in green in an action to draw the population’s attention to the importance of organ donation, which saves lives, a lighting action in the health area among many that the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary carries out. Likewise, vehicles from the State Department of Health, whose license plate, model and color information had already been sent to the Tijuca National Park, were also barred from the guardhouse.
This blockade has been going on for a few months. We list some events of the last days. On August 22, ICMBio inspection failed to identify French tourists who remained in the woods after the closing of the Sunday visitation. On the morning of the 23rd, the monument was illegally accessed by French tourists, who broke the locks on the access door to the interior of the monument and climbed up to the head and arms of Christ the Redeemer, attacking their own physical integrity. Access to the monument without authorization constituted a violation against the property of the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro.
In addition, at this time, in Alto Corcovado there are no commercial stores, including food stores, due to legal disputes between the Tijuca National Park and the shopkeepers. Thus, visitors cannot eat or even hydrate on site, without bringing their own food or water. Also due to the closing of the stores, the bathroom closest to the plateau (visiting area of the Santuário Cristo Redentor), which was in the restaurant, was also closed, preventing the public from using it.
In recent months, the posture of security guards at the Tijuca National Park has been hostile towards the rector of the Cristo Redentor Sanctuary, Father Omar, and the Sanctuary’s employees. Thus, ICMBio, once again, has the posture of relativizing the authority of the Church, which takes care, with all due care, of the monument to Christ the Redeemer and the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary on top of Morro do Corcovado, owned by the Archdiocese from Rio de Janeiro.
The Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary is the first open-air sanctuary in the world. The area comprises the entire plateau, that is, the entire public visitation area. A national symbol of the country’s Christian sentiments, it is an originally sacred space that welcomes people from all over the world. On October 12, 2021, the 90th anniversary of the monument to Christ the Redeemer will be celebrated, with a calendar of activities being prepared by the Archdiocese of São Sebastião of Rio de Janeiro.