COMMENTARY: Britney Spears, “Blackout” and Anti-Catholicism
The continued growth of anti-Catholicism is only one more sign of a culture corrupted. Sadly, the entertainment industry seems to be the medium of the last acceptable prejudice. Britney Spears' new album "Blackout" promotes the mocking of a Catholic Sacrament.
Centerfold images in Britney Spears New 'Blackout' album art. The pictures — one of which shows Spears wearing a cross and sitting on a priest's lap in what looks like a confessional booth while showing some fishnet stocking-ed leg, and another in which she leans suggestively against the confessional while the hunky priest sits on the other side of the partition.
The daily media has been filled with an endless stream of self professed experts only too eager to give their take on how pitiable the decline of this pop stars’ life has been. The internet and blogosphere are abuzz with rants concerning her struggles with substance abuse, marital infidelity and impulse control. She seems to be single-handedly fueling the insatiable thirst for celebrity gossip; one more sign of a Western culture in moral decline.
However, beyond it all, Britney’s tragic effort to fuel her flagging career and increase her net worth, reveal again that the only acceptable discrimination in America these days is bigotry toward the Catholic Church. Accompanying the album, the consumer receives a series of photographs, two of which picture the singer provocatively posed and scantily clad with fishnet stockings. She is pictured with a handsome young Catholic priest.
The two are seated in what appears to be a confessional, the place within a Church where a penitent confesses their sins and receives Sacramental absolution from the priest, acting on behalf of Jesus Christ through the Church. In the first photo, Spears is turned away from the priest in a seductive pose, exposing her legs, clad in fishnet stockings. She is behind the confessional screen. In the second, she is on the priest’s lap. Britney is doing anything but confessing her sins. She appears, with apparent glee, to be tempting this young priest to succumb to temptation.
Among those decrying this anti-Catholic insult was the dogged defender of the Catholic Church, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for the Defense of Religious and Civil liberties. Donohue called the pictures a “bottom of the barrel” stunt, "This is all the puzzle pieces coming together. This girl is crashing," said Donohue. "She's not even allowed to bring up her own kids because she's not responsible enough. Now we see she can't even entertain."
The Catholic league, based in New York City, also offered Kiera McCaffrey for Press comment. The League's Director of communications addressed what she rightly called a publicity stunt at the expense of the Catholic Church. She told MTV that the photographs were a “…cheap publicity stunt that is a way to get people to talk about Britney Spears' album without talking about her music, which is what they should be focusing on. All we see is how troubled this girl is now, especially with her family, losing her kids, with her career on a downward slide. And now she's put out this album and this is her tactic to promote it? She should be focusing on singing and dancing and trying to be an entertainer without mocking a Catholic sacrament."
Though still early, it appears that Britney’s album may be a hit, with some predicting it will reach the coveted number one spot on the charts by next week. One can only hope that Britney’s exposure to a confessional, even if meant to mock the Catholic Church, will be added to the mental images which occupy her sleepless nights during this troubled time in her life, as she struggles to regain custody of her children and make sense of the last few years. Perhaps the next time she approaches a confessional it will be to seek absolution and request a new beginning from the One who is able to give her the grace that she needs.
In the meantime, we can pray for Britney. We must also continue to stand up against the continued exploitation of the images of our Church by those who have no shame.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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