Archbishop speaks out against Madonna's concert

Religiously offensive content that breaches local guidelines is not allowed at Madonna's concert, which will be held at the Sports Hub on Sunday.
Religiously offensive content that breaches local guidelines is not allowed at Madonna's concert, which will be held at the Sports Hub on Sunday.PHOTO: REUTERS

Archbishop William Goh has expressed the Catholic Church's grave concerns about American singer Madonna's concert here on Sunday.

He reminded Catholics that it was their "moral obligation not to support those who denigrate and insult religions, including anti-Christian and immoral values promoted by the secular world".

"There is no neutrality in faith; one is either for or against. Being present (at these events) in itself is a counter witness. Obedience to God and His commandments must come before the arts," he said in a statement issued by his office.

 
 

Madonna's Rebel Heart tour, which has an R18 rating here, has been altered slightly for the Singapore audience, with religiously sensitive content removed.

In his criticism of Madonna, Archbishop Goh told Catholics that "we should subscribe to authentic arts that lead us to God... and not support the 'pseudo arts' that promote sensuality, rebellion, disrespect, pornography... abusive freedom, individualism at the expense of the common good, vulgarity, lies and half-truths".

The statement, put online on the Catholic News publication and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore websites, described her music and props as blasphemous and disrespectful to the Christian faith.

NO MIDDLE GROUND

There is no neutrality in faith; one is either for or against. Being present (at these events) in itself is a counter witness.

ARCHBISHOP WILLIAM GOH, urging Catholics not to support Madonna's Rebel Heart concert in Singapore.

Archbishop Goh had told various government ministries and statutory boards of the "Catholic Church's grave concerns" about the concert, to be held at the Sports Hub.

"(In) multiracial, multi-religious Singapore, we cannot afford to be overly permissive in favour of artistic expression, at the expense of respect for one's religion, especially in these times of heightened religious sensitivities," he said.

The authorities have assured the Archbishop that restrictions have been placed to ensure that religiously offensive content that breaches local guidelines will not be allowed.

Last month, the Media Development Authority said Madonna's concert licence will not allow any content that offends any race or religion, like the song Holy Water.

Many Christians supported the Archbishop. Public relations executive Victor Yen, 35, told The Straits Times: "What Madonna is doing is a direct provocation of our faith. I would not attend her concert."

Some Christian fans, however, said they would go as they had been waiting a long time to watch a Madonna concert. Executive Kevin Kwok, 30, said he is attending the show with his parents and fiancee. "I think this will be her first and last performance in Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2016, with the headline 'Archbishop speaks out against Madonna's concert'. Print Edition | Subscribe