It has been 15 years since Sinéad O'Connor tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live and said, "Fight the real enemy." So it's little wonder she's tired of talking about it and other provocative things she has done over the years.

In fact, she was so tired of it back in 2003 that she quit the music business.

"I was quite disillusioned, and also, I was tired of carrying the weight of the whole 'controversial Sinéad O'Connor' crap," she recently told the London Times. "That's a painful, difficult thing to carry, and I felt I couldn't work without having to deal with that."

Her retirement was short-lived, and now she's out promoting her new album. Which means she's patiently answering more questions about that Saturday Night Live appearance.

But this time, the questions make more sense. Her new album, Theology, is all about God, and almost all of it is based on Scripture.

An act of love

O'Connor once called tearing the pope's photo "a ridiculous act, the gesture of a girl rebel," but in recent interviews she's anything but apologetic about it.

"Sometimes we want to challenge the people we love, and sometimes we want to rattle the bars because we see them going down the drain unless they face particular issues. And they may not want to face those issues; for example, the issue of sexual abuse by priests within the Catholic church," she told Beliefnet. "Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't actually an angry act, although I can see, of course, why people would think it was. It was actually an act of love."

In that same interview, she lamented Catholicism's decline in her native Ireland as "the baby getting thrown out with the bath water."

Is this the revisionism of a 40-year-old woman who has mellowed in ...

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Sinéad O'Connor's Theology and 'Theology'
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July 2007

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