Madonna’s concert, Rebel Heart, which is touring Singapore next Sunday on 28 February 2016, is causing a stir amongst the Catholic and other Christian communities here.
Many have expressed their concern and even outrage at the performer’s disrespectful use of Catholic and other Christian symbols during her performances. Social media is rife with comments about Madonna’s blasphemous music and even props.
As Shepherd of his flock, His Grace Archbishop William Goh has made representations to various Ministries and Statutory Boards to communicate the Catholic Church’s grave concerns. Noting that whilst the Catholic community appreciates that “the task of the government in balancing freedom of the arts and public sensitivities is a challenging one”, the Archbishop nevertheless highlighted that “in multi-racial, 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, particularly among active practitioners of religions”.
In response, the authorities have given their assurance in various communiques with the Archbishop, both in writing and orally, that restrictions have been placed to ensure that religiously offensive content that breaches local guidelines will not be allowed on stage in Singapore and they have undertaken to exercise vigilance in seeing that the guidelines are not breached.
The Archbishop reminds all Catholics that it is our 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. As a people of God, we should subscribe to authentic Arts that lead us to God through the appreciation of beauty, harmony, goodness, truth and love, respect, unity and the transcendent; and not support the ‘pseudo arts’ that promote sensuality, rebellion, disrespect, pornography, contamination of the mind of the young, abusive freedom, individualism at the expense of the common good, vulgarity, lies and half-truths.”
Issued by the Archdiocesan Communications Office, dated Saturday, 20 February, 2016