Freeze Frame: Madonna’s MV is so scandalous that it is condemned by the Vatican church

I hear your voice, it’s like an angel sighing…

You would think this 1989 song would be loved by religious music fans around the world, thanks to its numerous theological references.

But by Madonna fight Like a prayer was mired in so much controversy when it was released that it was even condemned by the Vatican church itself.

The award-winning singer released the song after three consecutive multi-platinum albums and is gearing up for a similarly popular debut.

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Madonna 'Like a Prayer'
Madonna’s Like A Prayer music video was condemned by the Catholic Church. (Sire Profile)

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Two months earlier, Madonna had brokered a lucrative deal with Pepsi to release the title track from her album, which would debut in its entirety at the 31st Grammy Awards.

An estimated 250 million people will see the ad and learn the catchy words together: When you call my name, it’s like a little prayer.

The music video will be partially shown on the channel for the first time Tonight’s reception. And while it’s not unusual for Madonna, the release of the song has not only caused a bit of a backlash.

“It’s a big deal and we’re anxiously awaiting the video,” said music video producer Lu Murray. ET! Online in 2019.

“I remember grabbing the video and running into the editing bay, giving it to the editor and saying we had to cut this scene fast.

“We appeared in the video and started watching it, then we looked at each other and I said, ‘Uh oh. I don’t know if we can broadcast this.'”

Madonna 'Like a Prayer'
Pop star who released a video at the 1989 Grammy Awards. (Sire Records)

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Madonna’s video is a far cry from what you’d expect from a typical pop star’s album title track. But of course, Madonna never liked playing by the rules.

The music opens with the singer witnessing the murder of a young woman, before an African-American man is unjustly detained for the crime.

She then fled to a church, where she was found singing in front of burning crosses and engaging in intimate acts with a religious figure.

ET can only show small parts of the video, cutting out the more controversial parts. However, the full video was later aired on MTV with backlash from viewers.

Murray said of the release: “We knew it was going to be a big story. But how big, Murray could never have imagined.

We looked at each other and I said, ‘Uh oh. I don’t know if we can air this drama’

Religious groups calling for a boycott of Madonna and Pope John Paul II even spoke out against the video, asking Italian Catholics to also shun the singer.

“The video is blasphemous and offensive because it shows the immoral things inside a church,” Italian Roman Catholic historian Roberto de Mattei said at the time.

The Vatican even tried to block Madonna blonde ambition toured Italy in 1990.

“I know that the Vatican and some communities are accusing my performance of sin and blasphemy, that they are trying to stop people from seeing it,” Madonna said at the time.

“I think I’m offending certain groups, but I think people who really understand what I’m doing won’t be offended by that.”

Madonna reflected on the controversy on her 30th anniversary in 2019. (Instagram)

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The controversy also resulted in the cancellation of Madonna’s lucrative Pepsi deal, as described by ET! Host John Tesh was “one of the most expensive advertising blunders ever”.

According to reports, Pepsi paid a whopping US$5 million (about US$7.5 million) for the rights to the song.

However, Madonna’s unpopularity in the Catholic Church certainly didn’t affect her album sales.

Like a prayer was nominated for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards and topped the Billboard 100 in 1989. Her albums have sold over 15 million copies worldwide.

It was even ranked on Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’ list.

In 2019, on the 30th anniversary of the song’s release, Madonna talked about the backlash and marked its “birthday” with a post on Facebook. Instagram.

“30 years ago today I released Like a Prayer and made a video that caused a lot of controversy because I kissed a black saint and danced in front of burning crosses!” she wrote.

“I also did an ad with PEPSI but got banned because my video was deemed inappropriate. ??? Happy birthday to me and controversy!”

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