By Peter J. Smith

Madonna ROME, August 4, 2006 ( – A Vatican Cardinal has called for the pop-singer Madonna to be formally excommunicated, calling her plan to perform a blasphemous mock crucifixion in the Eternal City an “open act of hostility.”

“This concert is a blasphemous challenge to the faith and a profanation of the cross. She should be excommunicated,” said Cardinal Tonino, whose statements the Daily Mail says were approved by Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Ersilio Tonino called for Madonna’s excommunication after find out that during her routine she appears crucified, descending from a suspended mirrored cross. The “Confessions Tour” will be held this Sunday at Rome’s Olympic Stadium, less than 2 miles from the Vatican.

“To crucify yourself in the city of the pope and the martyrs is an act of open hostility,” said Cardinal Ersilio Tonini according to the daily La Stampa Wednesday. “It’s a scandal created on purpose by astute merchants to attract publicity.”

The pop-star’s spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, claimed in a Thursday e-mail to the Associated Press that “Madonna does not think Jesus would be mad at her, as his teaching of loving thy neighbor and tolerance is Madonna’s message as well.”

She added, “The context of Madonna’s performance on the crucifix is not negative nor disrespectful toward the church.”

However, Madonna’s tour has united Italy’s Muslim and Jewish leaders in solidarity with Catholics in condemnation of the pop star’s decision to stage the mock-crucifixion for this Sunday’s Rome performance.

“It’s not the first time Madonna stages such an act. We deplore it, we feel it is an act of bad taste,”” said Mario Scialoja, head of Italy’s Muslim World League. “I think her idea is in the worst taste and she’d do better to go home.”

“We express solidarity with the Catholic world,” said Riccardo Pacifici, spokesman and vice president of the Roman Jewish community. “It’s a disrespectful act, and to do it in Rome is even worse.”
  The 47 year old Madonna is a lapsed Catholic and daughter of a Catholic Italian-American father, and has been famous for her unapologetic displays of sexual obscenity and religious blasphemy. Back in 1989, Church leaders condemned her for a 1989 music video, “Like a Prayer” featuring burning crosses, statues crying blood tears, and the artist seducing a black Jesus.

In anticipation of Madonna’s first-ever concert in Moscow, Russia’s Orthodox Church urged a boycott of the Confessions Tour, according to Agence France-Presse.

“The US singer Madonna exploits Christian symbols—the cross, rosary beads and the crucifix—and tries to equate human passions, including her own personal passions, with something sacred,” said the Moscow patriarch’s spokesman.