“Not sacrilegious”

Rihanna in an angel costume at the 2018 "Met Gala." © Evan Agostini

Cardinal Dolan has defended the New York Met Gala against critics. "I saw some things that showed bad taste. But nothing was really sacrilegious," said the Archbishop of New York.

This year's Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) gala featured numerous superstars such as Madonna and Katy Perry under the theme "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination") appeared in revealing outfits with religious design elements. Singer Rihanna, for example, appeared as a kind of female pope.

The event sparked outrage on social media, some of it fierce. Several critics even accused the show's organizers of blasphemy. Former CNN anchor Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter, "Had the Met Gala addressed Islam or Judaism, all hell would be breaking loose right now. But why was it okay for a bunch of half-naked celebrities to treat my religion with such disrespect?"

With Catholic blessing

Actress Lena Waithe prompted the church theme to wear a cape in rainbow colors over her black suit – a nod to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) movement. Pop star Madonna wore a dark veil and a tiara with crosses, while other stars like Kim Kardashian and Gigi Hadid showed up in gold-colored dresses. Singer Katy Perry strode the red carpet at the Metropolitan Museum with big wings.

The Catholic Church had previously agreed to the theme, lending the Met's Costume Institute more than 50 pieces of past popes. Some of these had never been shown outside the Vatican before. "In the Catholic imagination, the truth, goodness and and beauty of God are reflected everywhere, even in fashion," New York's Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan had said before the gala.

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