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Blasphemy in the Pop Culture

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes blasphemy as follows: 

Blasphemy consists in uttering against God - inwardly or outwardly - words of hatred, reproach, or defiance; in speaking ill of God; in failing in respect toward him in one's speech; in misusing God's name. St. James condemns those "who blaspheme that honorable name [of Jesus] by which you are called." 

The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ's Church, the saints, and sacred things. It is also blasphemous to make use of God's name to cover up criminal practices, to reduce peoples to servitude, to torture persons or put them to death. The misuse of God's name to commit a crime can provoke others to repudiate religion.

Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. It is in itself a grave sin. (CCC 2148)

Nowadays, pop culture has been using religious imagery to the point of blasphemy. For instance, many Catholics reacted when they saw Beyonce at the BET Awards in 2009 singing her version of "Ave Maria" (definitely not about the Blessed Virgin Mary) and "In the arms of an Angel". She was dressed in a white garment as if a first communicant; and then started singing the real "Ave Maria" which is a song dedicated to Our Lady. She wore a skirt made of see-through lace with flamboyant ruffles and a big slit in front revealing much of her body. She was practically singing half-naked.   Beyonce's  good performance was ruined by her borderline blasphemy. 

While there are those who went near the border of blasphemy, there were also those who went beyond.

Reuters reported that in a sold-out stadium just a mile from Vatican City, lapsed-Catholic Madonna wore a fake crown of thorns as she was raised on a glittery cross during the Rome stop of her worldwide ‘Confessions Tour’ in 2006. Cheering lulled at Stadio Olimpico when she was raised on the cross and some of the 70,000 fans from predominantly Roman Catholic Italy confessed their disappointment. The crucifixion was unnecessary and provocative. What was her point? Clearly, she just wanted to be the "talk of the town". She wanted to stir up the emotion of the Catholics. She wanted sensationalism. How can this be entertaining when many are offended?

St. Thomas Aquinas said:
It is clear that blasphemy, which is a sin committed directly against God, is more grave than murder, which is a sin against one's neighbor. … it is called the most grievous sin, for as much as it makes every sin more grievous.” (Summa Theologica 2:2, q. 13.)

In Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" music video, there is certainly an argument that any offense taken by the Catholic Church may be warranted, given the conflagration of imagery including (clockwise from top left):

1. The burial of a heart surrounded by barbed wire, pierced with a nail, reminiscent of the Sacred Heart iconography. Incidentally or coincidentally, the music video was released on June 8, 2010, just few days before the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that year (June 10); 

2. Gaga dressed as some kind of crusader; 

3. Gaga's crusaders raised her above head height to wear an inverted cross at the crouch level. It was a depiction of some sort of rape scene;

4. Gaga dressed as a red-rubber nun and swallowing a rosary-like material, which is not only irreligious, but also a possible choking hazard.

In 2011, Lady Gaga‘s music video "Judas" offended many Catholics again. She played the role of Mary Magdalene in this very confusing video. The names of the apostles were printed at the back of the jackets of persons riding motorcycles while Gaga herself joined an imagery of Jesus (as symbolized by the crown of thorns) in a riding tandem. There was also an imagery of baptism of some sort. Obviously, she wanted to sustain her sensationalism.

Furthermore, Gaga is fond of wearing her version of a nun's habit. This is utterly unacceptable.

The latest to join the list was Nicki Minaj who wore the worst dress at the Grammy's in 2012. She was wearing a habit-like, little-red-riding-hood-like wardrobe and entered with somebody who portrayed as the Pope.

Furthermore, Nicki Minaj played around with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Exorcism and the song "O come all ye faithful" on her live performance at the same event. Perhaps, the most vulgar was the sexual statement that showed a scantily clad female dancer stretching backwards while an altar boy knelt between her legs in prayer.

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We first learn respect from our family, the ecclesia domestica. It is rooted in love. There is an old saying that goes "Treat others as you would have them treat you". Everyone deserves respect.

Katy Perry on one of her tweets said "Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke." Artists must focus on their talent and creativity. They must learn respect. Their ways must really show who they are as persons. Respect is gained by persons who know respect.


  1. Thank you for writing this topic. Many are still unaware and uninformed to the more dangerous subliminal messages they get from listening/watching it. New age and the popular music is a dangerous combination. Since the late sixties, songs and music videos go unhindered, and because they mostly deal with teen angst, they become popular. The ‘Enemy’ has been in it for a long time already, and actually, some music has been direct, without using symbols such as the Illuminati or Freemasonry, and blatantly attack the Church, and even God. In the past, there was back masking. Now, even actor Jack Black performed a live Black Mass ritual during an MTV Awards. Babylon again....

    1. I agree. Culture has bent and blinded our spirits so much that we don't know what's wrong or right anymore. We think that the bad is "normal", and the good is "weird". These kinds of blasphemy are the result of the turn of the era of western culture which has the goal of popularity and sensationalism.


God bless you!

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