Madonna dedicates "Like a Virgin" to pope in Rome

Mon Sep 8, 2008 2:12pm EDT
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ROME (Reuters) - Pop star Madonna, once accused by the Vatican of staging one of the most satanic shows in history, dedicated her hit "Like a Virgin" to the pope at a sold-out concert in Rome over the weekend.

"I dedicate this song to the pope, because I'm a child of God. All of you are also children of God," Madonna, 50, told the 60,000 fans that flocked to the Italian stop of her "Sticky & Sweet" world tour on Saturday.

Italian newspapers gushed over the singer's electric performance and called the dedication a surprising provocation.

"At the Roman leg of her tour, Madonna didn't miss the opportunity for a provocation that will certainly be discussed," Italy's top newspaper Corriere della Sera said in a front-page report.

Madonna, who comes from a devout Italian Catholic family, has raised the ire of the Catholic Church in the past with sexually charged antics designed to shock.

In 2006, she staged a mock-crucifixion at a concert in Rome to the backdrop of accusations from the Vatican of blasphemy.

The Vatican also condemned her controversial 1989 video for the song "Like a Prayer" that featured burning crosses, statues crying blood and Madonna seducing a black Jesus.

The Vatican later panned a show where she decked the stage out with religious imagery as one of the most "satanic shows in the history of humanity."

(Writing by Deepa Babington; editing by Ralph Boulton)