Sinead O’Connor Was a Profile in Courage

When the late Sinead O’Connor tore up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live after her acapella performance of Bob Marley’s “War” in 1992, the full extent of the Catholic Church’s complicity in facilitating widespread child-molestation was not fully known.

Here in the Boston area, the predations of the former priest from Revere, James Porter, who molested hundreds of Boston-area children with the full knowledge of Church officials (who had simply reassigned him to different parishes where he continued to molest more and more children) had just come to light.

Church officials assured their members that Porter was just an aberration. But a decade later, when the Boston Globe Spotlight team unveiled the full picture of the Church’s misdeeds and coverups, it became clear that Porter was just the tip of the iceberg, not only in Boston, but throughout the world.

Though O’Connor, who herself had been a victim of child abuse (though not by the church), destroyed her career with her outspokenness on that Saturday Night Libe appearance, the courage she displayed with that performance will far outlive her musical legacy.

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