Over 25 years ago, Sinead O’Connor shocked viewers when she tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II on an episode of Saturday Night Live. The act was broadcast live to millions and broadcasters and commentators could not explain why she did what she did. Now, as the recent horrifying discovery in Pennsylvania illustrates, we now know why O’Connor did this.
In 1992, just before a commercial break, O’Connor grabbed the photo of the pope, held it up to the camera, tore it in half, and declared that “Good will triumph over evil” and noted that we should “Fight the real enemy.”
Pedophilia has long been rampant in the Catholic church. However, until recently these monsters in priests’ clothing have acted under the cover of the church—their misdeeds swept away, the children ignored, and their abuse allowed to continue.
Recently, however, this has all begun to change after the horrifying report to come from Pennsylvania last week detailing the rampant abuse by hundreds of priests in only one state. It would be irresponsible to think that this abuse took place in Pennsylvania alone. Indeed, as O’Connor explains, it crossed oceans.
When O’Connor tore up the photo, she was attempting to expose this abuse. However, the media and the church wrote it off as “voodoo” and falsely attributed it to a woman’s rights movement. As the Atlantic noted in 2012:
On the right, John Cardinal O’Connor in Catholic New York suggested that the singer had employed “voodoo” or “sympathetic magic” to physically destroy her enemy in the Vatican—an extraordinarily poor choice of imagery for a Church authority attempting to silence an outspoken female. On the left, Richard Roeper in the Chicago Sun-Times celebrated Sinead for providing “a moment of truly great television.” He assumed offhand that she was protesting the Vatican’s positions on women’s rights or the ongoing violence in Northern Ireland, but he focused his praise on O’Connor’s acumen as an entertainer.
Americans, and the world in general were left in the dark about what she really meant. This was in spite of the fact that O’Conner herself explained exactly what she mean in an interview with Time Magazine one month after the performance on SNL.
It’s not the man, obviously—it’s the office and the symbol of the organization that he represents… In Ireland we see our people are manifesting the highest incidence in Europe of child abuse. This is a direct result of the fact that they’re not in contact with their history as Irish people and the fact that in the schools, the priests have been beating the shit out of the children for years and sexually abusing them. This is the example that’s been set for the people of Ireland. They have been controlled by the church, the very people who authorized what was done to them, who gave permission for what was done to them.
As the rampant child abuse in the Catholic church had yet to be fully exposed, the interviewer couldn’t make the connection between the pope and child abuse, so O’Connor went into further detail about her own abuse as she attended Catholic school.
Sexual and physical. Psychological. Spiritual. Emotional. Verbal. I went to school every day covered in bruises, boils, sties and face welts, you name it. Nobody ever said a bloody word or did a thing. Naturally I was very angered by the whole thing, and I had to find out why it happened… The thing that helped me most was the 12-step group, the Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families. My mother was a Valium addict. What happened to me is a direct result of what happened to my mother and what happened to her in her house and in school.
O’Connor was one of thousands of children across the world to be abused by the clergy in Catholic schools. When priests or clergy would be caught abusing children, they were not cast out, instead most of the time, they were simply moved to a new diocese.
We are now seeing the inevitable result of such a disgusting cover up.
As TFTP reported last week, a scathing grand jury report revealed that hundreds of Catholic priests in the state of Pennsylvania sexually abused young children, a portion focuses specifically on Pittsburgh where nearly 100 priests are accused of running a pedophile ring where they helped each other prey on helpless children with no oversight.
The report claims that at least 99 priests in the Pittsburgh Diocese were involved in the pedophile ring—nine of whom were not named—and they received help from local officials who refused to explore investigations into the abuse because it was considered “bad publicity” for the Catholic Church.
The priests are accused of working together in a predatory ring that was ongoing for years in which they “manufactured child pornography, shared intelligence on victims and gave large gold crosses to certain boys to mark them as already being ‘groomed,’ for abuse,” according to a report from Penn Live.
One week after O’Connor tore up the photo of the pope, actor Joe Pesci displayed the same torn up photo, noting that he had taped it back together. His words were met massive applause. Pesci then threatened to “smack” O’Connor for what she did, and the crowd reacted with even more applause.
As more of this corruption and abuse comes to light, it seems Pesci, the SNL fans of the 90’s and the world may owe Sinead O’Connor an apology as she was over the target 25 years ago—and no one listened.