World

Philippine Catholic bishops want faithful to boycott Madonna

The Philippine's Catholic bishops yesterday called on their faithful to boycott pop star Madonna's concerts in the nation's capital, calling them the devil's work.

The 57-year-old singer, whose hits include Like A Virgin and Erotica , has two concerts in Manila.

The first was yesterday and the next will be today.

It is part of her global "Rebel Heart" tour.

"Pinoys (Filipinos) and all God-loving people should avoid sin and occasions of sin," Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said in a statement posted on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines' official website.

He said that the concerts, Madonna's first in the Philippines, were among "subtle attacks of the evil one".

"Why is the Catholic Philippines the favourite venue for blasphemy against God and the Holy Mother?" he asked.

The archbishop had previously campaigned against pop diva Lady Gaga, saying that her 2012 Manila concert was the work of Satan.

Ahead of her concerts, Madonna visited a shelter for abused children and a Catholic orphanage in Manila on Tuesday.

"Chillin' with my homies," she said in a caption to an Instagram selfie with three children, as they lay on cardboard mats on the floor of Bahay Tuluyan, home to about 500 abused or abandoned children.

ENTOURAGE

Wearing head-to-toe black and oversized shades, she went with an entourage of 20 dancers and burly bodyguards, Bahay Tuluyan executive director Lily Flordelis told AFP.

"The children were very happy to see her," Ms Flordelis said.

"She played with them, danced with them and chatted with them."

Tipping her maroon hat in another Instagram post, Madonna said: "Hats off to the Bahay Tuluyan Foundation in Manila for taking so many kids off the street and providing food and shelter."

Madonna also visited the Hospicio de San Jose, one of Manila's oldest orphanages. She posted a picture of herself carrying a baby in pink overalls while holding the hand of an emaciated girl, also in pink, whom she identified as Celeste

Archbishops in the Philippines are not the only ones who are against Madonna's concerts.

Singapore Roman Catholic Archbishop William Goh expressed the church's grave concerns about her concert on Sunday.

He reminded Catholics that it was their "moral obligation not to support those who denigrate and insult religions, including anti-Christian and immoral values promoted by the secular world", The Straits Times reported.

"There is no neutrality in faith; one is either for or against," he said in a statement issued by his office last Saturday).

"Being present (at these events) in itself is a counter witness. Obedience to God and His commandments must come before the arts."

The statement was put online at the websites of the Catholic News publication and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore.

It said Madonna's music and props were blasphemous and disrespectful to the Catholic and Christian faith.

Last month, the Media Development Authority said that Madonna's concert licence will not allow any content that offends any race or religion, such as the song Holy Water.

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