Madonna loves to court controversy within the Catholic Church.
The 59-year-old entertainer gave a surprise performance Monday in honor of the 2018 Met Gala exhibit, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” After walking the red carpet in black Jean Paul Gaultier gown and veil, she joined the other guests inside for dinner.
Later, Madonna changed into a monastic cloak and appeared at the top of the stairs of the Great Hall. With church bells tolling, she opened her set with “Like a Prayer” (the song that outraged Church leaders in the ’80s), then segued into a cover of Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah.'”
Jimmy Fallon, Kim Kardashian and more celebrities shared snippets of the performance on Instagram, while Donatella Versace, one of the gala’s co-chairs, live-streamed it in its entirety.
Madonna, who was raised Roman Catholic and later became a devotee of Kabbalah, has often claimed in interviews she’s been excommunicated from the Church. “No matter what spiritual path I might go down, I always feel some kind of inexplicable connection with Catholicism,” she told Rolling Stone in late 2015. “It kind of shows up in all of my work, as you may have noticed.”
Vogue shared a clip of Madonna’s performance on Instagram, which she re-posted on her own account. “Stairway to Heaven! #metgala #epic. #jeannedarc #catholicimagination,” the singer told her fans. “@jpgaultierofficial thank you all who helped make it happen! @voguemagazine.”