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At Last, a Madonna Metamorphosis?

Poor Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, newborn love child of Madonna and the fellow who impregnated her. Lourdes will someday be old enough to read the press clips about her mother and see how Mommy has managed to grab international headlines for the past decade-plus with one outrage after another.

Lourdes will learn how Mommy became a famous pop music singer in the early 1980s and rose to the top of the popularity pole after old nudie photos of her were published in Playboy. From that moment on, it was one erotic production after another, from her racy video "Justify My Love" to her racier book "Sex" to those bizarre pointed bras on stage.

When you've done it all, what's the encore? Mommy announces she has decided to become a mother but can't decide who the father should be; makes her choice (based on criteria I don't want to know); and to great fanfare Lourdes arrives nine months later. Madonna, mother. A new leaf for the Material Girl?

No, try a new role. For one thing, she has no intention of marrying Carlos Leon, the father of her child. This arrangement is consistent with her statement last April to "Entertainment Tonight" that "you can live with someone and be in love with someone and raise children and not be married and be perfectly fine." Now that Carlos is expendable, look for this relationship to have the same staying power as an Elizabeth Taylor marriage.

But that pronouncement is typical Madonna, who has done her level best to insult not just traditional mores but institutions and their leaders at every opportunity. Special venom is used when she chooses to sink her fangs into the Catholic Church. In a 1991 interview with the gay-oriented magazine the Advocate, she sniped that Catholicism was "really mean" and "incredibly hypocritical. How could I be supportive of it as an organized religion?" adding, "I think they probably got it on, Jesus and Mary Magdalene." Perhaps fearing that straight readers weren't aware of her feelings, the next month she told the general-circulation monthly Us, "I've always known that Catholicism is a completely sexist [and] repressed... religion."

"My family life was very repressive, very Catholic, and I was very unhappy," she told Time, also in 1991. "My rebellion is not just against my father, but against the priests and all the men who made the rules while I was growing up." (Memo to Madonna: You obviously learned nothing from those priests, whose first rule of order is that they don't make the rules, He does.) In a 1996 interview with Spin, she opined, "I disagree with almost every principle of [Catholicism]. If I ever got into a room with the Pope, I would probably fly into a rage with him. All of this adulation, I don't think people realize what he's actually saying. I mean, women have literally, absolutely no rights in the Church. There's no freedom, there's no choice."

Oh, Madonna does concede that exposure to organized religion was beneficial in one way. In 1993, she commented to "Entertainment Tonight" that Catholicism inspired the sadomasochistic photos in "Sex." "I think a lot of Catholicism is based on punishment," she mused. "A punishment-equals-pleasure kind of a thing."

Reading those press clips, what will Lourdes learn from Mommy about sexual issues? Talking in 1995 to another gay magazine, the Edge, she declared that "no celebrity has done more [to advance the goals of] the gay community - happily and proudly." Asked by Details magazine in 1994 if her virginity had been "something you wanted to get rid of," she replied, "Definitely. [It's] a burden. I think all girls feel that way." And, to Interview magazine in 1993, she asserted, "I think everyone should get married at least once, so you can see what a silly, outdated institution it is."

And what will Lourdes think of Mommy's politics? In 1995, preparing for her "Evita" role, Madonna said that Eva Peron "basically robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. I identify with her on many levels." (This from a person with an annual eight-figure income.) In 1992, she said in USA Today that "George Bush doesn't give a s-- about family values. He's a bigoted, narrow-minded fascist." Three years later, she remarked to George magazine that if she were president, "Rush Limbaugh, Bob Dole and Jesse Helms would be sentenced to a hard-labor work camp for the rest of their lives."

I wish Madonna the best as a mother. I wish Lourdes even more luck as the daughter of Madonna, for whom everything is a game and a marketing ploy, including, I'm afraid, little Lourdes.