Madonna's Secular Liturgy

As one wag said, there seems to have been a football game at the recent Madonna concert in Indianapolis. No one ever said Madonna didn't know how to put on a show. I was blown away by her entrance (to Vogue) and the last dance number (to Like a Prayer).Madonna, who was raised Catholic, has long been involved in Kabbalah--Jewish Mysticism. But there were rumors last year that she was returning to Catholicism--and to Opus Dei, specifically. She has not been shy to explore religious themes-even in very controversial ways. But my guess is that Opus Dei isn't a good fit for Madonna. Among other things, she is going to have trouble getting her, um, mode of transportation (see above) through the same door with her at the Opus Dei Center in New York--I've heard there are separate entrances for men and women--separate entrances--that's not exactly Madonna's modus operandi.What struck me watching this, and her other videos, is the attention to detail. No one has ever said Madonna wasn't a hard worker, a perfectionist, even. Think about the Superbowl performance: hours and hours of work for a nine minute spectacle, and then it's gone. More generally, performers have something to tell us, it seems, about the relationship between chronos (the extension of time) and kairos (a transformative moment).Here, by the way, are the original videos of Vogue and Like a Prayer. Clearly influenced by the religion of her upbringing, I think Madonna has forged a secular liturgical sensibility.

Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.

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Society of Christian Ethics

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