We Heart: Sinead O’Connor

Sinhead O'Connor
Photo by Kevin Abosch from http://www.sinead-oconnor.com.

“There should be a full criminal investigation of the Pope,” Irish singer Sinead O’Connor told the Los Angeles Times in response to the Vatican scandal this week. Yesterday, she wrote in the Washington Post:

This month, Pope Benedict XVI wrote a pastoral letter of apology—of sorts—to Ireland to atone for decades of sexual abuse of minors by priests whom those children were supposed to trust. … Astonishingly, he suggests that Ireland’s victims can find healing by getting closer to the church—the same church that has demanded oaths of silence from molested children. …

… As Ireland withstands Rome’s offensive apology while an Irish bishop resigns, I ask Americans to understand why an Irish Catholic woman who survived child abuse would want to rip up the Pope’s picture.

O’Connor’s infamously ripped up that picture in a 1992 Saturday Night Live appearance, during which she covered the Bob Marley song “War” but changed the lyric “racial injustice” to “sexual abuse.” She was booed at her next U.S. appearance, a Bob Dylan tribute concert, and afterwards briefly retired from pop music.

Nobody’s booing Sinead O’Connor now; in fact, we’re cheering.


Jessica Stites is Associate Editor at Ms. magazine.