Millennial superstar Lady Gaga spoke out about her Catholic faith after receiving what she felt was chastisement from a Catholic culture website called CatholicLink, when she posted a photo on Facebook and Instagram to thank Father John Duffell of Blessed Sacrament Church for delivering a "beautiful homily" at her family's restaurant.
"I was so moved today when you said, 'The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but the food that God gives us.' - Father Duffell, Blessed Sacrament Church. Nourishment," the singer-songwriter, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, captioned the photo.
Not long after Gaga's online posting, CatholicLink published an article called "From Lady Gaga to Steph Curry: 5 Things to Remember When Celebrities Share Their Faith." The piece praised NBA star Steph Curry for his outspoken faith, but added, "Many celebrities are sharing Bible verses, quoting priests, and singing Christian music while at the same time still leading a typical Hollywood lifestyle void of Christian values such as modesty and purity."
The five "things" the article suggested needed to remembered about celebrities was:
1. They aren't God just because they are famous.
2. They're human like us. They're not perfect.
3. They have the power to influence ... good and bad.
4. We can use their words to start conversations and connect with others.
5. We need to pray for them.
Though Gaga is known as a provocative performer, she has been open about her Catholic faith. In 2010, Gaga admitted to Larry King that, though she has had struggles, she sees herself as religious. "I am very religious," she told King. "I was raised Catholic. I believe in Jesus. I believe in God."
Gaga, offended by the CatholicLink post, responded online directly to the journalist who wrote the story at CatholicLink with the following: "Dear Becky Roach, Mary Magdalene washed the feet of Christ and was protected and loved by him. A prostitute. Someone society shames as if she and her body are a man's trash can. He loved her and did not judge. He let her cry over him and dry his feet with the hair of a harlot. We are not just 'celebrities;' we are humans and sinners, children, and our lives are not void of values because we struggle. We are as equally forgiven as our neighbor. God is never a trend, no matter who the believer."
CatholicLink then replied to the pop star's comments on their own Instagram account, telling Gaga the story was not "aimed at judging" the singer, adding that what she wrote was "absolutely beautiful."
That response was: "Dear @ladygaga, your screen shot was a one part of the article which was not aimed at judging you, rather it was an effort to help Catholics to have a balanced and positive view of when celebrities publicly share their faith. It was an invitation to value the hunger of God that exists in the world of the famous. It was a reminder to not forget that they, like us, are fragile and that we should not judge, rather pray for them. This said, what you wrote is absolutely beautiful. It is one of the most touching comments we have ever read. Know that we will be praying that experience of God's mercy continue to grow and bear fruits for you, for the people that you love, and all of your followers."
Billboard summarized the whole exchange as: "When a famous person talks about Jesus, there are as many people who want them to clam up as there are those who fault them for not speaking about their faith more often. Similarly, some conservative Christians are always ready to throw stones when liberal celebrities talk about Jesus, accusing them of being hypocritical for living a lifestyle not in accordance with strict Biblical interpretations."
Gaga appeared to have a positive influence on some of her fans through the post, as evidenced by Luke M Bonnici indicating on her Facebook page that he hadn't had the Eucharist in years because he felt unclean. "Your message has just changed the way I feel about myself and life, God bless."
Erinn Peralta also posted: "Had no idea beautiful Lady Gaga was religious! I think that's great that you take time to thank God for all of your blessings!"