But our secular media culture does not bend a knee -- or even shut a mouth. Instead, Holy Week means it is time to grab the spotlight with the most indulgent forms of spiritual irreverence and mockery. Start with the infantile Lady Gaga. She released a new single titled "Judas."
Her primary lyrical "thought," if you can call it that, is "I'm just a holy fool, oh baby he's so cruel / But I'm still in love with Judas, baby." She says "Jesus is my virtue," but "Judas is the demon that I cling to."
There is a part of this song I'd like to endorse entirely. She raps this part: "In the most biblical sense, I am beyond repentance / Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind." We know (she doesn't) that no one is beyond repentance in the eyes of God. As for the rest of her statement, I'd say it's pretty accurate.
The pop star is spitting in Christ's face and pounding the crown of thorns into his head. Lady Gaga's camp insisted a video for the "Judas" song will be released on Easter Sunday, for maximum shamelessness, with her posing as Mary Magdalene. This very creepy person has actually pleaded to a magazine that "I feel like honestly that God sent me those lyrics and that melody...There's no way for something that pure to be wrong."
Do these Madonna-copycatting pop stars ever wonder whether there could be a God that will judge them negatively for lame stunts like this?
The spirit of Lady Gaga also came alive in April in "The Borgias," the new Showtime miniseries that dwells playfully on an adulterous, murderous pope -- a Spanish mobster in papal vestments. (It's what Showtime considers "religious" programming.)
There's no historical doubt that Rodrigo Borgia (who became Pope Alexander VI) was flagrantly immoral, with numerous illegitimate children, one of whom he named a cardinal. He was a terrible pope and a medieval Judas -- and the perfect vehicle to sully today's Catholic Church.
By contrast, Showtime had too much reverence for the Kennedy family to accept the miniseries "The Kennedys." New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley joked, "(F)ortunately for Showtime, there don't seem to be any thin-skinned Borgia descendants with powerful friends who can lobby network executives."