22:09 GMT10 April 2021
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    Famed Canadian singer Céline Dion is causing some uproar on the Catholic front after partnering up with brand Nununu to launch CELINUNUNU, a gender-neutral clothing line for children.

    The brand, which is a partnership between Dion and Nununu co-founders Iris Adler and Tali Milchberg, was launched as a means to "liberate children from the traditional roles of boy/girl, and enable younger people to grow on values of equality with the freedom to strengthen their own power of personality based on mutual respect."

    "People, and for that matter, little humans, express themselves through clothes," a statement on CELINUNUNU's website adds. "We would like to enable them to be who they are, so that their choices are driven by their own true essence and free spirit, beyond stereotypes or any norm."

    And yet, despite the partnership's good intentions, it isn't flying with certain folks. The National Catholic Register's Patti Armstrong took the company to task, calling the clothing line "hideously ugly" and "extremely disturbing."

    But she didn't stop there. Wanting to get the opinion of a clergyman, Armstrong reached out to Monsignor John Esseff, who's been a Catholic priest for 65 years and an exorcist at Pennsylvania's Diocese of Scranton for more than 40 years.

    "I'm convinced that the way this gender thing has spread is demonic," Esseff told the Register. "It's false. I don't even know how many genders there's supposed to be now, but there are only two that God made."

    "The devil is going after children by confusing gender… When a child is born, what is the first things we say about that child? It's a boy, or it's a girl. That is the most natural thing in the world to say. But to say that there is no difference is satanic," he added.

    For Esseff, the matter of gender neutrality is simply part of a "ploy" that the "evil one" has been working on for eons. "This is definitely satanic… it is being driven by an agenda because there is a spirit behind it," he said.

    Netizens, however, seem to be split on the matter. Some are here for the line, while others are arming themselves with the holy water.

    ​"On the face of it, the charge that Céline Dion is spreading Satanism by way of her gender-neutral clothing line is absurd," Lucien Greaves, spokesperson and co-founder of The Satanic Temple, told Sputnik on Friday. "As far as I know, Celine Dion has no explicit ties to Satanism, nor do I believe she views her own clothing line as implicitly endorsing a Satanic viewpoint."

    There is, however, cause for "genuine concern" for the Catholic Church, according to Greaves, who noted that the church's "patriarchal social model… is losing currency, while a more equitable model, fought and advocated for by Satanists, is becoming the norm."

    Ultimately, the Catholic Church's slowness to get with the times and adopt "modern social sensibilities" is what's causing individuals to look for alternative religions, including Satanism, that will embrace them, Greaves argued.

    "In this way, while the clothing line almost certainly had no intention of endorsing Satanism, the clothing line itself is indicative of Satanic values overtaking deeply-embedded oppressive theocratic norms," Greaves said.

    CELINUNUNU dropped their official ad for the partnership on November 13. It shows Dion breaking into a children's hospital wing and blowing black glitter on newborns that eventually erases all signs of pink and blue.

    ​Dion previously told CNN's Chloe Melas that she was inspired to work on the project so that children can find their own individuality without being influenced by societal norms. "Let people be who they are as soon as possible," she said.


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