The photo shows eight hopefuls in the country’s popular ‘rear of the year’ contest portraying Christ and his disciplines – with the ‘sexiest’ girl posing as Jesus.
Religious leaders branded the remake of the Da Vinci masterpiece “deeply disrespectful” and even Brazil’s religious intolerance commission condemned the picture.
Even one of the women involved said she regretted posing for the shot and said she had “asked forgiveness from God for a great sin”.
Daiana Fegueredo, representing the state of Ceara, was chosen to play Jesus in the photo as her bottom received the most number of phone votes, making her the frontrunner in the race for the coveted title.
I completely understand people being angry about it, because even I’m angry and I’m in it. For me it is blasphemy.”I feel really bad deep inside of me. I’m a practising Catholic. Since I did the photo my heart is tight inside my chest, I can’t sleep and I don’t stop thinking about it. I’ve already asked forgiveness from God, and I ask forgiveness from everyone else. We went too far. We were part of a great sin.”
Father Clesio Vieira, from the Volta Redonda diocese of Rio de Janeiro, said the photo has caused “great offence” to Catholics.
“Everyone’s talking about it. It has broken the boundaries of ethics and respect, all in the name of money. This isn’t creativity, it’s the vulgarisation of the sacred and is deeply disrespectful.”
Assistant bishop of Rio de Janeiro, Antonio Augusto Dias Duarte, also criticised the photos, saying he was against any images showing women’s bottoms, “whatever the setting”.
He added: “Women need to be valued for their role as a wife, mother, professional, and for her intellectual and cultural qualities.”