When it comes to their ability to offend the Catholic Church, two performers come to mind — Madonna and Lady Gaga. Here are the top moments when the singers angered the Church for their controversial music and performances.


1. “Confessions” Tour In Rome

Madonna’s four-month-long “Confessions” tour in 2006 had the Vatican fuming. The singer seemed to have taunted the Church when, during her Rome concert, Madonna staged a mock crucifixion during her show, which was held very near Vatican City.

“This time the limits have really been pushed too far,” complained Cardinal Ersilio Tonino, who spoke with Pope Benedict XVI’s approval. “This concert is a blasphemous challenge to the faith and a profanation of the cross. She should be excommunicated.”

2. “Rebel Heart” Tour In Madison Square Garden

Madonna angered America’s Catholic League with her Madison Square Garden concert, which is part of the Rebel Heart tour (2015–2016). While performing the “Holy Water” song, the artist stripped to reveal a sexy nun’s habit outfit underneath. She also held a crucifix-shaped pole while her backup dancers wore nun costumes.

As expected, the Catholic League attacked the singer for her mockery of their faith. “Madonna ages, but she never changes,” the group’s Bill Donoghue commented. “Now, at age 57, these seem to have become her last refuge as she struggles to avoid becoming an entertainment has-been. For her and her fans, apparently, Catholic-bashing is the one thing that never gets old.”

3. “Like A Prayer” Music Video

While praised by critics, the “Like A Prayer” music video (1989) was condemned by the Vatican, which is actually understandable. The presence of burning crosses, stigmata and a make out with a saint were considered too steamy for its time.

As a result, Italy’s state broadcaster did not air the music video. Even Pepsi, which used the song for its ad, dropped its contract with Madonna to distance the brand from the controversy.

Lady Gaga

1. “Alejandro” Music Video (2010)

Christians were not happy with the music video of Lady Gaga’s song “Alejandro.” In it, the singer swallows a rosary, dons a red habit and strips down before doing sexually suggestive dance moves with almost naked men. As expected, the Catholic League condemned the video, and even MTV was pressured enough that it won’t air the video before 10 p.m.

2. “Judas” Song Lyrics and Video

Many Catholic leaders were outraged when Lady Gaga released the song “Judas” in 2011 because of its lyrics. “I’m in love with Judas … Jesus is my virtue, and Judas is the demon I cling to,” Gaga, dressed as Mary Magdalene, sings in its video.

Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights was incensed as the group is convinced that it was blasphemous. “She is trying to rip off Christian idolatry to shore up her talentless, mundane and boring performances,” the group’s president, Bill Donohue, commented.

3. Manila Concerts

In 2012, Lady Gaga visited Manila, Philippines, for a two-day concert, which is part of her “Born This Way” Asian tour. Despite previous warnings by state censors and protests by conservative Christian groups in the predominantly Christian nation, on her concert’s first day, the singer still belted out “Judas,” a controversial song that was labeled as blasphemous by her critics in the Philippines. “I’m not a creature of your government, Manila,” was the singer’s defiant response.

“Her fans are in danger of falling into the clutches of Satan,” Catholic Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said. Due to protests from religious groups, the city government warned the artist that the second show might be cancelled if their censors among the audience will detect any hints of blasphemy, devil worship, nudity or lewd conduct.

Apparently, fans understand that Lady Gaga was just born that way, and 40,000 fans trooped to the shows even with the $370-priced tickets.

Lady Gaga and Madonna Lady Gaga, designer Marc Jacobs and Madonna attend the Marc Jacobs 2010 Spring Fashion Show at the NY State Armory on September 14, 2009, in New York City. Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage for Marc Jacobs