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Cardinal Timothy Dolan Joked He Lent Rihanna His Headdress For The Met Gala

"I didn’t really see anything sacrilegious," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan. He also joked he lent Rihanna his hat.

Posted on May 9, 2018, at 2:14 p.m. ET

As you may know, the annual Met Gala took place this Monday in New York City, and celebrities from all over the world hit the red carpet, donning their best take on the theme "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination."

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The affair was inspired by a new fashion exhibit at the museum called "Heavenly Bodies," which features artifacts loaned out by the Vatican. Rihanna was there, wearing an impressive pope-inspired outfit, miter and all.

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As well as Solange Knowles, sporting a halo.

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And Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman was wearing some gold crucifixes.

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But the event soon drew criticism from some Christians.

My religion is not your f*cking #MetGala dress.

Piers Morgan, the conservative British TV personality, wrote a scathing piece about "flesh-flashing celebrities" disrespecting his religion.

*NEW COLUMN* If the Met Gala was Islam or Jewish-themed, all hell would break loose – so why was it OK for a bunch of flesh-flashing celebrities to disrespect MY religion? https://t.co/aXXTl8P5eE https://t.co/MiLLlJFaSu

Morgan criticized liberals for praising Rihanna and co, while also accusing Keziah Daum, a teenager at the center of controversy last week because she wore a traditionally Chinese gown to prom, of cultural appropriation.

"When Utah teenager Keziah Daum recently wore a Chinese style prom dress, I found the backlash that exploded against her utterly absurd given that nobody in China seemed to be remotely offended," Morgan wrote.

"But there was widespread rage towards her from PC-crazed liberals across America, and it's the inconsistent and hypocritical LACK of widespread rage from PC-crazed liberals across America about last night's Met Gala that ironically makes me angry," he wrote.

"Why is it deemed unacceptable to wear a red Chinese dress to a prom, but acceptable to lampoon an entire religion at a celebrity gala?"

Similarly, there was an op-ed published in Business Insider which claimed there was a double standard for what people consider cultural appropriation.

Opinion: 'Pope Rihanna' and the Met Gala expose the double standard of what people will consider cultural appropriation https://t.co/H14Olid5UR https://t.co/tE7QVMxqZ0

Writer Daniella Greenbaum referenced Daum in her piece too, saying that she doesn't believe women's fashion choices are "worthy of condemnation."

"But the disparity between these two cases serves to illustrate more than just the incoherence inherent in the charge of appropriation," Greenbaum wrote.

"It highlights the unfairness. Social-justice warriors inevitably create distinctions — they have appointed themselves the arbiters of which cultures deserve protecting. And in the meantime, it seems, they've left Catholics out to dry."

Some on Twitter were quick to argue that an appropriation of someone's culture involves an inherent imbalance of power.

Laughing @ all the white ppl calling Met Gala theme “cultural appropriation.” To appropriate, a dominant culture takes from a marginalized culture. Not happening here. In fact, Catholics FORCED their religion on Black/brown ppl all over the world - it’s called colonialism.

This was echoed by Adrienne Keene, a writer and the creator of Native Appropriations, a site dedicated to "discussing representations of Native peoples, including stereotypes, cultural appropriation, news, activism, and more."

I can’t handle the Met Gala Catholicism appropriation hottakes this morning. It’s so clear white folks weren’t listening the 100 million times BIPOC explained that appropriation is about POWER.

Well, the Met Gala has found another unlikely defender: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, head of the New York Catholic Archdiocese.

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"There were some aspects that looked like kind of a masquerade party, a Halloween party," Dolan told SiriusXM’s Catholic Channel about the event, which he also attended.

"I didn’t really see anything sacrilegious. I may have seen some things in poor taste, but I didn’t detect anybody out to offend the church," he said.

Dolan also said that although he was at first "apprehensive" about attending the gathering, he was assured by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who organized the event, that outfits deemed too provocative would not be permitted.

According to Dolan, a priest was able to review outfits and ask that certain things "not make the cut," and Wintour obliged. "So I appreciated their sensitivity," he said.BuzzFeed News has reached out to Dolan for comment.
Jemal Countess / Getty Images

According to Dolan, a priest was able to review outfits and ask that certain things "not make the cut," and Wintour obliged.

"So I appreciated their sensitivity," he said.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Dolan for comment.

Dolan also joked during the interview that Rihanna borrowed the headpiece typically worn by bishops from him. "She gave it back to me this morning," he said with a laugh. "She was very gracious.”

(The cardinal didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but the archdiocese told America magazine he was indeed joking.)
Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

(The cardinal didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but the archdiocese told America magazine he was indeed joking.)

Overall, Dolan says he appreciated the reception he got from celebs over the course of the night. “A number of people came up and spoke about their Catholic upbringing and things they remembered and it was a powerful evening," he said.

Noam Galai / Getty Images

Listen to the Cardinal's interview here.

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