On Monday evening my wife and I attended the black-tie Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awards ceremony held at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.
The CFDA is a not-for-profit trade association that leads industry-wide initiatives and whose membership consists of more than 370 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers. Diane von Furstenberg, president of CFDA, hosted the evening.
The attendees walking the red carpet included many of the top people in fashion, including a bevy of Victoria's Secret super models, as well as up-and-comer designers.
The evening didn't really begin until Lady Gaga showed up, walking on 10-inch platform shoes and a revealing body suit. It was a site to behold.
Lady Gaga (a.k.a., Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta), was raised Catholic and attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan's Upper East Side, a school that counts among its alumni the Hilton sisters and Caroline Kennedy.
Accepting the CFDA's Fashion Icon Award, Lady Gaga also informed the crowd that the she wanted to bring a live rat to the event but was not allowed. She then informed the crowd that the rat's name is Black Jesus. "Black Jesus" is also the name of a song on Lady Gaga's Born This Way album.
A couple of months ago Lady Gaga released a new song called "Judas." According to one writer, "The Grammy Award-winning singer may very well fancy herself somewhat of a Christian performer, as her new tune “Judas” is told from Mary Magdalene’s perspective. The song, which has racked up more than 4 million YouTube hits, has angered The Catholic League and many others for including lyrics such as:
“When he comes to me, I am ready/ I’ll wash his feet with my hair if he needs/ Forgive him when his tongue lies through his brain/ Even after three times, he betrays me/ I’ll bring him down, a king with no crown...”
Last evening my wife and I attended annual black-tie dinner for the Path To Peace Foundation held at the New York Athletic Club in New York City. I served on the dinner committee and have for several years.
The foundation has been established for the purpose of spreading the message of peace by which the Catholic Church, through the words and activities of the Pope and of the Holy See, strives to "guide our steps into the path of peace". (Luke 1:79).
Independent from, but in collaboration with the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, the Path to Peace Foundation directs its activities primarily, albeit not exclusively, to the international stage of the United Nations.
The Holy See's recently appointed permanent observer to the United Nations is Archbishop Francis Chullikatt.
It was Archbishop Chullikatt's first time hosting the annual dinner. In his opening remarks he remembered with deep affection the people of Baghdad, Iraq, where he served as apostolic nuncio in 2006. Archbishop Chullikatt has a terrific sense of humor and has been warmly received in New York City since his arrival.
Cardinal Renato Martino, a predecessor permanent observer to the U.N., was in attendance and reminded the audience that it was he who founded the Path To Peace Foundation over twenty years ago.
He presented the Servitor Pacis Awards to Sister Eugenia Bonetti, MC, is an advocate for victims of human trafficking, Sister Rachele Fasser, CMS, who is "inextricably linked to the humanitarian crisis in East Africa and the particular tragedy of the 1996 kidnapping of 139 girls from St. Mary's College in Uganda and the successful release of 109 of these girls.
The third awardee was Karen Clifton, Executive Director of the Catholic Mobilizing Network to the End the Death Penalty.
The Path To Peace Award was presented to Fra Matthew Festing, who is the Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (commonly known as the Order of Malta of which I am a member).
Fra Matthew represents 13,000 Dames and Knights of Malta, whose efforts are augmented by approximately 80,000 trained volunteers and 20,000 employees worldwide who are dedicted to defending the faith and serving the sick and the poor.
In speaking to a couple of seasoned Catholics, a lay woman and a priest, both said that Lady Gaga is a missed opportunity for the Catholic church.
Perhaps it's not too late for Lady Gaga to be drawn closer to the church and the mission of peace in the world. It is not a stretch to think this could happen.