Monday, August 07, 2006

"Have You Confessed?"

So reads a beam of light across the stage once the curtain has dropped on Madonna's "Confessions" Tour.

My sister went to the show when it rolled into town last month. And you could probably pack a mid-sized cathedral with the good Fathers who've also gone as the tour snaked its way across the US.

Before a crowd of 70,000, last night's "Confessions" at Rome's Olympic Stadium has aroused holy hellfire for its crucifixion stunt... which has been taking place the world over since the tour began earlier this year. Madonna's rep invited the Pope -- who's interspersed in a video montage with Hitler and Mussolini -- to the concert, and in the midst of it all there's little or no mention that tickets for the gigs top out at the truly blasphemous sum of $350.

Sorry, I'm not a Madonna fan. And in any event, we have more reason to worry about the antics of many of our ad intra Material Girls -- who aren't really girls -- than we do those of Ms Ciccone-Ritchie.

As the latest installment of my "Almost Holy" gets prepped to run at Busted Halo, Christine Whelan, our "Pure Sex, Pure Love" columnist, muses on seeing the show... and wonders if she should heed its final message.
Madonna has pushed the limits and offended Catholics for 20 years. She's a performer who is known for her shock value. I knew this going into the concert, yet somehow it still surprised me to see it in person. Perhaps it's because I wasn't an avid MTV viewer as a teenager, so I haven't seen most of her videos. Or perhaps it's because I like Madonna's music as wallpaper for my life, not something I think too actively about.

Now I understand why my father wouldn't let me go to that Madonna concert when I was 17. As an adult now, I make my own choices and I think I'm strong enough to see her sexual innuendo and offensive messages as what they are—attention-grabbing stunts—and not a whole lot more. Still, I probably wouldn't be too excited if my teenager wanted to support performer who professed similar feelings toward our faith.

Every time I buy a concert ticket or a CD I am supporting Madonna—both her stunts and her music. I feel a moral ambivalence about Madonna like I do of so many things that I do in my life: I wear clothes that were probably made in a sweatshop. I'd probably rent the less expensive car without regard to its gas emissions. On a daily basis we pick and choose what battles to fight. But it doesn't make it right.

I like Madonna's music, I'd probably buy her next CD and I'm not really sorry I went to the concert. Yet I feel guilty about my part in supporting her deeply anti-Catholic messages. Do I need to go to confession for having attending Madonna's Confessions tour?
As you'd expect, the question generated a flurry of responses.