I won’t speculate as to her motives… I will only note that once again the Pop Queen recieves column inches and pixels galore after saying something that was garunteed to make headlines…
And now here we are talking about it!
I pray for the conversion of all sinners, most especially myself.
Richard Owen in Rome
Madonna visited a pilgrim church in Rome for more than an hour after provocatively dedicating her hit song Like a Virgin to Pope Benedict XVI during a concert in the Italian capital at the weekend, it was reported today.
Escorted by two Italian policewomen on motorcycles, Madonna, 50, went to the basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme and stayed “for a long time” in meditation before the relics of the True Cross, according to Father Gaetano Claudio Fioraso, the Priest-in-Charge.
He told Il Messaggero, the Rome daily newspaper, that Madonna had entered by a side door from the walled kitchen garden, which is tended by monks and stands on the site of a former Roman amphitheatre.
Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, one of the seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome, was consecrated in about AD325 to house relics brought from the Holy Land by St Helena, the mother of Constantine I. The basilica is built over the remains of her imperial palace, in which she maintained a chapel.
It was redesigned in Romanesque style in the 12th century and given a Baroque appearance in the 18th century. The relics include part of the panel on Christ’s Cross bearing the word Nazarene in Hebrew, Latin and Greek, two thorns of His crown, a nail, three small wooden fragments of the True Cross, a bone from the index finger of St Thomas, fragments of the grotto of Bethlehem and the Holy Sepulchre, and a piece of the Good Thief’s cross.
At her Sticky & Sweet concert on Saturday night, attended by 60,000 fans at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, Madonna introduced the song Like a Virgin — one of her earliest hits — with the words “I dedicate this song to the Pope, because I’m a child of God”. She added: “All of you are also children of God.”
Madonna, whose full name is Madonna Louise Ciccone, was born in Michigan and is descended from a devoutly Catholic southern Italian family from Pacentro in Abruzzo. The follower of the Jewish mystical religion Kabbalah has a history of using religious imagery in her performances. In 1989 the video for her song Like A Prayer featured burning crosses, statues crying blood and Madonna seducing a black Jesus.
Two years ago she was taken to task by the Italian Catholic Church for staging a mock crucifixion at a concert at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. The Vatican, which has condemned her shows as Satanic, did not comment officially on her dedication of Like a Virgin to the Pope, who was celebrating Mass at Cagliari in Sardinia at the time.
However Lucetta Scaraffia, an historian and contributor to L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, said that Madonna was “in a phase of decline” at 50 and was obliged “to resort to the profanation of sacred symbols — and the papacy is a universally recognised symbol — to create curiosity”.
Giovanni Reale, a Catholic philosopher, said that the singer was “troubled” and “in flight from reality”.
The seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome are St Peter’s, St John Lateran (San Giovanni in Laterano), St Paul’s Outside the Walls, St Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore), San Lorenzo, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme and the sanctuary of the Madonna del Divino Amore.The last was substituted by Pope John Paul II for San Sebastiano in 2000.
Madonna started her Sticky & Sweet tour in Cardiff last month and will play Wembley in London on September 11. In October she will perform four dates in Madison Square Garden, New York. The tour will end in Sao Paolo, Brazil, on December 18.