Sinead O'Connor (in)famously ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live on October 3, 1992. She was protesting child abuse in the Catholic Church, but most folks didn't seem to get the message and she was met with more disgust and outrage than she was support. The general consensus seemed to be was that she was some crazy musician type trying to stir up controversy and didn't know what the hell she was talking about. If you follow the news at all, then you know that almost 18 years later child abuse in the Catholic Church is still very much a serious problem and hindsight being 20/20, that she was addressing an issue that demanded attention. She recently wrote a letter to The Washington Post regarding Pope Benedict XVI's pastoral letter of apology to Ireland regarding decades of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests in that country. Regardless of what you think of Sinead, the letter is well written, intelligent and she makes some good points. And she does address the Saturday Night Live controversy from years ago. You can read the article here.
I was born and raised Catholic (Irish Catholic to be exact), so all this controversy really does trouble me. On the one hand, my upbringing in the Catholic Church is something that I've used to guide my opinions about spirituality and religion as I've grown older, so I do respect it for that, but covering up the sexual abuse of a child is inexcusable, indefensible and disgusting. It is beyond disturbing to think that this kind of behavior has been going on for so long and that the heads of the Church still don't seem to want to take responsibility for the fact that they've been covering it up for a very, very long time. Just another reason why I have no desire to be associated with the Catholic Church anymore (I'll spare you the entire list as I'm too tired to be on a soapbox on Monday morning).
This is a time for the Vatican to acknowledge their lies and mistakes and work towards forgiveness and atonement rather than digging themselves into a deeper hole. After all, I think that is what Jesus would want of them.