Madonna’s 2021 MTV VMA performance was memorable, but it is one of many times she made multiple headlines. One of these times was her long-spanning rocky relationship with the catholic community.
Madonna’s electrifying pop music was as famous as her love-hate rapport with the catholic church and its ideals. While the former solidly established her signature, the latter bordered on being controversial.
The Queen Of Pop is known to often sprinkle elements of her catholic background into her music and fashion style. And as much as she did, it was often frowned upon by the religious sect.
Inside Madonna’s Childhood As A Catholic
Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone was the middle child in a family of eight, including her parents, Madonna Fortin and Silvio “Tony” Ciccone. Growing up, Madonna was surrounded and accustomed to the ways of the Catholics.
She has shared in past times that her mother was a “religious zealot” who had countless religious relics in their home. There were items like nuns’ habits, the presence of priests and nuns, and strict observation of their tenets.
This was a huge part of her formative years, and it did transform into her adult years. She also built her music brands around it. The A-lister once opened up to People in 1985 about her upbringing:
“Ours was a strict, old-fashioned family. When I was tiny, my grandmother used to beg me not to go with men, to love Jesus, and be a good girl. I grew up with two images of a woman: the virgin and the whore. It was a little scary.”
Madonna’s Interpretation Of Her Catholic Background
When she made her debut in the music scene, Madonna impressed many with her timeless sounds in a time when it was a male-dominated industry.
She bagged hit songs, and with it came awards, a large fandom, and ever-expanding fame. However, she did face criticisms, especially for her portrayal of catholicism.
Madonna went on a controversial spree, starting with her indelible performance at the 1984 MTV VMAs debut. Madonna had performed her hit single, “Like A Virgin,” off her second studio album, of the same title.
The star appeared in the vision of a bride in a white lace attire that included a bustier and a wide skirt. She accessorized with some statement jewelry, but the most notable was the giant crucifix worn around her neck.
Madonna would later dedicate “Like A Virgin” to Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. It was at a concert in Rome, and she had performed for thousands of fans at the Stadio Olimpico, which was a few miles from the Vatican. During her stage appearance, she addressed the crowd:
“I dedicate this song to the pope because we are all children of God.”
She had a second dramatic moment when she released “Papa Don’t Preach” off the LP “True Blood.” The song carried a theme where a pregnant teen discussed her status with her father.
Madonna went under fire as many shared their opinions that she glorified teenage pregnancy. However, the “La Isla Bonita” crooner defended herself, noting that it was about a girl making a decision for herself while she had a close relationship with her father.
Her most controversial and blatant expression of catholicism came in 1989 when she released “Like A Prayer.” Her performance featured the stigmata, a black saint similar to Jesus, and burning crosses.
Madonna Loves The Cross
Whether for a symbolic reason or just for aesthetics, Madonna loves the cross, and she never fails to include it in her fashion statement. The music star has also expressed her love for the relic in a 2015 Rolling Stone Interview, where she said:
“I like crosses. I’m sentimental about Jesus on the cross. Jesus was a Jew, and also I believe he was a catalyst, and I think he offended people because his message was to love your neighbor as yourself….”
She has displayed her sentimental preference for the symbolic item in many of her fashion reinventions. Many of these were witnessed during her Met Gala appearances. In 2009, the mom-of-six rocked a Louis Vuitton ruched dress, while a crucifix served as her singular jewelry.
Madonna switched her style up and showed fans a new way to rock the cross when she attended the Met Gala in 2013. The icon donned a form-fitting plaid blazer, ripped fishnet, pantyhose, and a waist belt with a cross hanging down her backside.
The music star was not at the high fashion exhibition this year. However, Madonna’s 2021 Met Gala look made it to her Instagram page. She donned a mesh headscarf in the semblance of a nun’s habit and completed the look with crucifix earrings.
How The Catholic Church Have Reacted In Years
For every of Madonna’s religious depictions, the Catholic community branded her blasphemous. Her “Like A Prayer” music video received condemnation from the Vatican, and Madonna also lost an endorsement deal with Pepsi.
That same year, the Grammy-winner shared with The Times that her “own catholicism” was in “constant upheaval.” Her 1990 Blond Ambition Tour had the Vatican even more incensed when she replicated masturbation while performing.
The Pope called for action and a boycott of the Blond Ambition Tour. Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, in 2006, spoke with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, describing Madonna’s 2006’s “Confession Tour” as a blasphemous challenge to the faith and a profanation of the cross.
The performance had Madonna suspended on a mirror-like cross in the depiction of a mock crucifixion. Tonini further suggested that Madonna should be ex-communicated. However, Madonna’s 2021 updates have hardly caused an uproar in the Catholic community. This has led many fans to believe that she has simmered down.