In an accompanying video for the song Sr Cristina Scuccia recites the line “Like a virgin, touched for the very first time ..” with a backdrop of church spires.
Sr Cristina, praised for her Alicia Keys-esque voice, wears a black habit in the video — lambasted as a “reckless and calculated commercial operation” in an editorial by the Servizio Informazione Religiosa (Religious Information Service) news agency.
The agency has close ties to the Italian Bishops’ Conference.
But Sr Cristina defended her decision to cover the song.
“I chose it myself, without any desire to provoke or cause a scandal. By reading the text, without letting yourself be influenced by previous [interpretations], you discover that it is a song about the ability of love to renew people, to redeem them from their past. And that’s how I wanted to interpret it.”
Meanwhile, a video of a pair of duelling, dancing American priests studying in Rome has gone viral.
The Rev David Rider, 29, of Hyde Park, New York, and the Rev John Gibson, 28, of Milwaukee, first shot to internet fame when they were filmed in April during a fundraiser at the North American College, the elite American seminary up the hill from the Vatican.
Rider warmed up the crowd with a lively tap-dance routine, only to be pushed aside by Gibson’s fast-footed dance. Soon they were battling it out, trying to impress the crowd.
At the back of the room, journalist Joan Lewis recorded the event and later posted on YouTube.
“All of a sudden the numbers started rising and rising,” Lewis said. The video has nearly 260,000 views.
As with Scuccia, the priests’ online popularity was tinged with criticism. Some commentators wrote that the priests shouldn’t have been dancing under a crucifix and a painting of Pope Francis, calling it “disrespectful”.