One might think the most sensible path for the Roman Catholic church with regards to Madonna might be to ignore her – after more than 30 years of provocations based around conflating Christianity and sexuality, it seems unlikely she’s going to change any time soon.
And nor do the church’s repeated complaints about her seem to have persuaded her audience to desert her.
Still, that hasn’t stopped the bishop of Auckland speaking out ahead of Madonna’s concert in the city on Saturday. “There is no question in my mind that some of Madonna’s material is highly offensive to Christianity and will be found just as offensive to the majority of people of religious faith,” said Bishop Patrick Dunn, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Bishop Dunn’s condemnation followed a complaint made by the archbishop of Singapore when the Rebel Heart tour stopped there last month. “There is no neutrality in faith,” Archbishop Goh said. “One is either for or against. Being present [at Madonna’s concerts] in itself is a counter witness. Obedience to God and His commandments must come before the arts.” That was despite Madonna toning down elements of her show – which features, among other things, pole-dancing nuns in hotpants – for the Singapore performance.
Bishop Dunn agreed with Archbishop Goh’s sentiments, though he did not call for a boycott of the concert.
Madonna has a long history of offending the Catholic church. Her Confessions tour in 2006 was described as a “blasphemous challenge to the faith and a profanation of the cross” by Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, speaking with the approval of the then pope, Benedict XVI. “She should be excommunicated,” Tonini added.
That show featured a mock crucifixion, with Madonna singing Live to Tell while suspended from a giant mirrored cross. The Church of England wondered: “Why would someone with so much talent seem to feel the need to promote herself by offending so many people?”
In 1990, the pope called for a boycott of her Blond Ambition tour, in which Madonna simulated masturbation during Like a Prayer, whose original video – complete with burning crosses, a gospel choir and references to stigmata – was accused of being blasphemous.
This article was written by Guardian music, for theguardian.com on Friday 4th March 2016 09.23 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010