“Catholics found a number of reasons to criticize the 2018 Met Gala. There was the presence of a Catholic-themed bondage mask in an exhibit alongside Vatican-loaned sacred vestments; there were the scantily-clad celebrities dressed as a cleavage-flaunting Blessed Virgin Mary, a seductive female cardinal, and a bejeweled female pope; and there was the presence of New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan at the event who rhapsodized about the ‘Catholic imagination.’
It was singer Rihanna who dressed as the pope, complete with a glittery mitre that Dolan later joked he loaned her.
Ross Douthat commented in the New York Times that attendees wore sacred-themed vestments, ‘sexing them up for shock value.’
Frequently raunchy, blasphemous singer Madonna performed a sensual version of Like a Prayer surrounded by monks and maids. The maids dressed in the same kind of undergarment corset as it was revealed Madonna wore after the monks removed her cloak.
‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’ was the theme of this year’s annual fundraising gala for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and also the theme for the Met’s largest exhibition to date.
But not all Catholics were disturbed by what is being called ‘blasphemy’ by many.
Claire Giangravè and Christopher White of Crux wrote a glowing report about the event, calling it a ‘homecoming’ for celebrities who once practiced the Catholic faith. Their report exuded enthusiasm for the event.
‘Grammy-Award winner and evening co-host Rihanna, for instance, was one of the night’s real standouts, showing up with her own pope-like Golden miter, adorned with jewels and crystals,’ they reported.
Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan told Crux that he ‘did not find the spirit of the evening to be offensive or blasphemous at all.’
Eloise Blondiau of the Jesuit-run America magazine said that Catholics ‘should not complain about cultural appropriation in the same way that other groups might because they are so well-represented in popular culture.’…
Hollywood darling Anne Hathaway, wearing a voluminous cardinal red gown, passed by members of the press on the red carpet. When one shouted, ‘You look like an angel,’ she snapped back ‘Actually, I’m feeling quite devilish.’…
While Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, was on hand for the evening’s gala, he did not make his way down the red carpet, choosing instead to enter from a side entrance. Yet that didn’t keep his name from being a part of the celebrity chatter, with many attendees saying they were delighted he would be joining…
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, to Crux:
‘I did not find the spirit of the evening to be offensive or blasphemous at all.’
‘Was some of it edgy? Yes, but I never met any person that seemed to be snippy or snotty about the Church, or who intended anything to be offensive.’
‘We could have had a lecture at the museum on the Catholic imagination and not too many people may have showed up, especially the crowd from last night. But when you do an evening like that, you get everybody.'”