Madonna concert

Catholic Church 'not imposing its views on others'

Singapore Catholics with tickets for American pop singer Madonna's concert on Sunday should "act according to their informed conscience" on whether to attend the show, the Catholic Church said yesterday, making it clear that it was not instructing them not to go.

The Church also said it was not imposing its views about Madonna on non-believers. Its statement comes a day after a Straits Times report on Archbishop William Goh expressing, in a message to Catholics, his grave concern about the concert.

Some on social media had criticised the Archbishop's comments.

The Archbishop had also reminded Catholics of their moral obligation "not to support those who denigrate and insult religions".

Responding to queries from ST yesterday, the office of the Archbishop said he was "not issuing any new instructions but simply recalling and stating the fact of the need to be true to the faith". It added that the Church "does not impose her faith and values on non-believers", but has a duty to make clear its stand on moral issues.

Leaders of some other churches have come out to support the Archbishop's position. The National Council of Churches of Singapore's (NCCS) general secretary, Reverend Ngoei Foong Nghian, told ST the council had informed the authorities of its concerns since December. He said NCCS' members "would likely not wish to be subjected to songs and lyrics which may not be edifying to the Christian faith".

Madonna's Rebel Heart tour, which has an R18 rating here, has been altered slightly for the local audience, with religiously sensitive content removed, like the song Holy Water. In her North American and European shows, she performs the song with scantily clad dancers looking like Catholic nuns.

This is not the first time Singapore churches have taken issue with a pop concert. In 2012, the Media Development Authority met the NCCS and the LoveSingapore network of churches regarding Lady Gaga's concert, which they felt was offensive to Christians.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2016, with the headline 'Catholic Church 'not imposing its views on others''. Print Edition | Subscribe