There’s admittedly a lot going on with Canadian songstress Céline Dion’s new gender-neutral children’s clothing line, Célinununu.
There’s the commercial, where Dion busts into the nursery of a hospital in the stealth of night to sprinkle newborns with black glitter, and then gets arrested. There’s the price tag, with onesies for babies starting at $72 (although some of the prices have recently been reduced, so now you can nab a onesie for $54). And there are the black and white, sometimes skull-adorned clothes themselves, which some people on Twitter have accused of being ugly.
But now an actual exorcist has taken criticism to the next level by accusing the clothing of being satanic.
WATCH: Céline Dion’s new gender-neutral kid’s fashion line is here. Story continues below video.
The issue, according to Monsignor John Esseff, isn’t so much with the skulls, but that the clothes are gender neutral.
Esseff is diocesan priest of Scranton, Pa., and an exorcist for the last 40 years. In the Catholic Church, a priest can be made an exorcist by the diocesan bishop, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. And the demand for exorcists is booming, according to the Telegraph.
Esseff told the National Catholic Register last week that god only made two genders, and the spread of “this gender thing” through influences such as Dion’s clothing line is demonic.
“People behind this are influencing children to disorder,” Esseff said. “This is definitely satanic. There is a mind behind it — an organized mindset.
“The devil is a liar and there are huge lies being told,” Esseff said. “This is being done for money, and there is divisiveness that comes from this — marks of the devil.”
A skull playsuit from Céline Dion’s gender-neutral clothing line, Célinununu.
Célinununu is a collaboration with Iris Adler and Tali Milchberg, the co-founders and designers of the kids fashion brand nununu. Dion, 50, debuted the first ad for the line on Nov. 13.
“I’ve always loved nununu and what they represent. Partnering with them to encourage a dialogue of equality and possibility makes so much sense,” Dion wrote on Instagram earlier this month.
The line includes tops, bottoms, dresses, baby clothes, shoes and blankets — some adorned with stars, the alphabet, skulls, or messages like “New Order.” The items are mostly black, white, grey or yellow.
“CELINUNUNU liberates children from the traditional roles of boy/girl, and enables younger people to grow on values of equality with the freedom to strengthen their own power of personality based on mutual respect,” the Israel-based company explains on its website.
Experts have repeatedly said that gendered marketing reinforces harmful stereotypes. Toys, clothing and even training pants have come under recent scrutiny, with many parents preferring gender-neutral options. Typical “boys” and “girls” clothing can also convey problematic messages about gender (picture a little girl’s shirt that says “pretty like mommy” and a boy’s shirt that says “heart breaker”).
Studies have found that pushing stereotypical gender roles on kids can be harmful for them later in life.
“The devil is going after children by confusing gender,” he told the National Catholic Register. “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.”
Dion, who was raised Catholic, has previously explained that her relationship with religion is complicated.
“For me, God is life itself, the birds, the air, the sunrise and the sunset, the children. Yes, that is where I find God. Not in a church,” she told the Toronto Star in 2014.
More from HuffPost Canada:
This story has been updated since its original publication to include information about the role of exorcists in the Catholic church.