Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone, best known as Madonna, has been named by Time magazine as one of the 15 most powerful women in the 20th Century and by CNN as “arguably the most influential female recording artist of all time.” Sales of her records have topped 300 million, and her last tour made an unsurpassed $305 million, raising her net worth to over a billion. Her biography in Wikipedia takes up 31 pages, only nine short of Dwight Eisenhower’s, eight short of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s and nine more than Bill Clinton’s. To all of which may be added one new distinction. Madonna will come under study by a panel of the Catholic Church later this month for demonic possession.
This is not altogether a new idea. Various exploitations of sexual activity, often perverse, have long been a powerful additive to an undoubted and extraordinary musical talent. Her 1990 “Blond Ambition World Tour,” for instance, described by Rolling Stone as “an elaborately choreographed, sexually provocative extravaganza,” was denounced by both the Catholic and Anglican Church. Her “Confessions Tour” in 2006 caused the Russian Orthodox Church and the Federation of Jewish Communities to urge all their members to boycott her concerts.
But submitting her as a case for exorcism is new. Her music and shows will come under the scrutiny of 300 exorcist priests at a five-day conference held every two years at the Jasna Gora monastery, the most holy site in Poland.
Exorcism may be odd to us; it wasn’t to Christ
The practice of “casting out evil spirits” plays a major role in Jesus’ ministry. It is often identified with lifetime afflictions and is associated with the forgiveness of sins. Sometimes several devils are resident in the same person, and shown as begging Jesus to leave them alone or not to kill them.
While many scoff at the idea of exorcism today, very different attitudes emerge when disasters occur. As well, certain forms of insanity suggest that the individual concerned is behaving with a conscious and deliberate intent to injure.
Devil possession: On display, every day
A well known Alberta judge, a man whose experience included wartime combat, prisoner of war camp, and later participation in major business and government dealings, once said: “If you want to see raw human evil at its utmost, drop in any day on any divorce court. It’s not that the parties involved are pursuing their own interests. That would be easily handled. No. They are there with one purpose in mind, and that is to inflict pain.” These are not, he said, what we would normally call evil people. They are often very good people, generous, good natured. But in that circumstance they change unrecognizably. Devil possession? He thought so.
- Madonna to be discussed at Polish exorcists meeting, the Telegraph, July 11, 2013