By chrisweger (Madonna Rebel Heart Tour 2015 - Stockholm) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By chrisweger (Madonna Rebel Heart Tour 2015 – Stockholm) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Madonna’s “extremely offensive” Rebel Heart Tour has been condemned by religious leaders for its pole dancing nuns.

Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour made a stop in Auckland, New Zealand over the weekend. Bishop Timothy Dunn, a Catholic bishop based in Auckland, made heated statements about the American musician ahead of the two concerts held at Vector Arena. The church authority has described a few of the performer's songs as extremely offensive to the Christian religion. The bishop has publicized his opinion that her performance is offensive to religious people, and destroys a number of cultural sensitivities.

The condemnation by Bishop Dunn comes close on the heels after a complaint was made by Archbishop Goh of Singapore. The Rebel Heart Tour stopped in the city state in February. The Singaporean said that faith is not neutral and attending any concert by Madonna constitutes a counter witness. He reminded that arts are secondary to obedience before God and the commandments. This criticism comes even after Madonna toned down the elements which made up the show, including hotpants wearing pole dancing nuns for her performance's Singapore show.

The sentiments expressed by Archbishop Goh found resonance with Bishop Dunn, although the latter did not ask the faithful to boycott the concert.

To her credit, it is not the first time Madonna has offended the Catholic Church. In her 2006 era Confessions Tour, her performance was described by Cardinal Ersilo Tonini as a challenge worthy of blasphemy to the profanation and faith of the cross. The Cardinal also suggested that she must be excommunicated. Tonini had the approval of the erstwhile Pope Benedict XVI.

That particular show had a mock crucifixion. Madonna sang the song Live to Tell even as she was suspended from a large mirrored cross. It has been wondered by the Church of England that why would a talented artist like Madonna have the need for such promotional activities by offending such a large number of individuals.

The Pope in 1990 asked the faithful to boycott her Blond Ambition Tour. Madonna acted out a masturbation sequence during her song “Like a Prayer” where the original video, with its gospel choir, burning crosses and stigmata references, led her to accusations of blasphemy.

1984’s “Like A Virgin” was also critically received.

Bishop Dunn has asked that in a multi-faith and multicultural New Zealand, it is important that entertainers must not presume that their cultural perspective represents the majority.

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