04/21/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT
In a scandal worthy of Madonna, Cher, 54, has Catholics fuming over a new song that attacks the beloved order of nuns, the "Sisters of Mercy," reports the New York Post. In the song, Cher recalls her not-so-pleasant childhood days in a Catholic orphanage. She describes the order as the "daughters of hell," "mothers of shame," and "twisters of truth." The singer also wails, "Sisters of Mercy, they always weave the web of lies and wrap you in their wicked spell." But Cher insists the song "is not a condemnation of the Catholic Church . . . I have known many wonderful and loving nuns in my life." That's not good enough for The Catholic League, which has criticized the bitter lyrics. "It's reprehensible," spokesman Patrick Scully said. "Obviously, she needs an angle to sell the album. Let's face it: It's not 'American Pie.' " Ouch.