Madonna's Rome show crosses religious leaders

Madonna delighted some and appalled others in Rome on Sunday with a controversial concert that included a mock crucifixion of the 47-year-old pop star.

Madonna delighted some and appalled othersin Rome on Sunday with a controversial concert that included a mock crucifixion of the 47-year-old pop star.

The performance was condemned by some religiousofficials but receivedrave reviews from many of the 70,000 in attendance at Rome's Olympic Stadium, located about three kilometres from the Vatican.

During the song Live to Tell, Madonna — who is a lapsed Catholic — wore a crown of thorns andappeared against a mirrored cross.

The scene, which has beenincluded since the beginning of the tour in May, drew fire fromboth Muslim and Catholicleaders, who denounced it as aninsult tothe Roman Catholic Church.

The pop star's representatives have said the performance was not intended to be disrespectful, and many fans also defended the scene.

"She does it to play, not to offend," said Benedetta Mori, a 31-year-old fan wearing a T-shirt with an image of Madonna on the cross.

"If they allowed her to stage the show here, they must also play by her rules."

'Two Miracles'

Sunday's two-hour show contained other religious imagery, including two dancers with a Star of David and a Muslim crescent painted on their respectivetorsos, who embraced and held hands.

A figure wearing a robe and turban played the shofar, a ram's horn traditionally blown during Jewish high holidays, before joining Madonna, who is a kabbalist, in a song about a 16th-century Jewish mystic.

"Two miracles have happened," Madonna told the crowd. "Italy won the World Cup and it stopped raining before my show."

The set-list also featured the songs Hung Up, Music, Like a Virgin and La Isla Bonita.

With files from the Associated Press