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Catholics should not support those who denigrate religion: Singapore Archbishop on Madonna

“There is no neutrality in faith; one is either for or against. Being present (at these events) in itself is a counter witness," says Archbishop William Goh ahead of a Madonna concert in Singapore.

SINGAPORE: Catholics should not support those who denigrate or insult religion, Archbishop of Singapore William Goh said, ahead of a concert by Madonna in Singapore.

A statement posted on the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore's website on Saturday (Feb 20), noted that news of the pop queen's concert on Feb 28 has caused "a stir" among Catholic and Christian communities in Singapore. 

"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," the Archdiocesan Communications Office said.

Organisers have already clarified that for her show in Singapore, Madonna will not include a controversial segment of her Rebel Heart Tour called Holy Water, featuring pole-dancing nuns and large crosses. The Media Development Authority has stated that it would not be allowed as it contains “religiously-sensitive content which breach (MDA) guidelines".

The Archdiocese added that Archbishop Goh has made the Catholic Church's "grave concerns" known to various ministries and statutory boards and was given assurance on restrictions in place to ensure that religiously-offensive content will be banned.

The Catholic community appreciates that the Government's task of "balancing freedom of the arts and public sensitivities is a challenging one", the head of the Catholic Church in Singapore said. But he added: "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 the statement, Archbishop Goh said it is the "moral obligation" of Catholics to not support those who "insult religions", as well as 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," said Archbishop Goh. 

"As the 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," he said.