Madonna’s plans to crucify herself on a mirrored cross during a Sunday concert have drawn fire from religious leaders.
The 47-year-old pop diva wears a crown of thorns and sings while hanging from a cross on her “Confessions” world tour.
The prospect of the scene being repeated at the concert in Rome’s Olympic stadium, some two miles from the Vatican, prompted Catholic officials to denounce the act as a publicity stunt in bad taste.
“To crucify yourself in the city of the pope and the martyrs is an act of open hostility,” Cardinal Ersilio Tonini was quoted as saying in the La Stampa daily Wednesday. “It’s a scandal created on purpose by astute merchants to attract publicity.”
Muslim and Jewish leaders also criticized the concert stunt.
“It’s not the first time Madonna stages such an act. We deplore it, we feel it is an act of bad taste,” said Mario Scialoja, president of the Muslim World League in Italy.
“We express solidarity with the Catholic world,” said Riccardo Pacifici, spokesman for Rome’s Jewish community. “It’s a disrespectful act, and to do it in Rome is even worse.”
A phone message left for Madonna’s New York-based spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, wasn’t immediately returned Thursday.
Tickets for the Rome concert were selling quickly, with only about 100 left by Thursday, news agency ANSA reported.