Why did Sinead O'Connor rip up a photo of the Pope during an SNL performance?

Why did Sinead O'Connor rip up a photo of the Pope during an SNL performance?
Watch: Sinead O'Connor's stand-out moments

The moment Sinead O'Connor ripped up a photo of the Pope has resurfaced as the singer has died.

The Grammy-winning singer who shot to international stardom in 1990 with the hit ballad 'Nothing Compares 2 U', and released 10 studio albums between 1987 and 2014 has died aged 56, her family confirmed.

As well as being famous for her music, she also was known for some controversial moments.

O'Connor was performing on Saturday Night Live on October 1992 when she ripped up the photo of the head of the Catholic church.

The then 26-year-old singer performed an a cappella rendition of Bob Marley’s 'War' to bring attention to the issue of child abuse.

As she finished singing, the singer held up a picture of Pope John Paul II and tore it to pieces in front of the camera.

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She then blew out the candles on stage and walked off.

The stunt was reportedly to protest the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, long before such allegations were widely reported.

The network received complaints after the stunt and O'Connor also received death threat, boos, and had to cancel lots of gigs.

Remembering the incident in her 2021 autobiography, Rememberings, she wrote: "'When I walk backstage, literally not a human being is in sight.

"All doors have closed. Everyone has vanished. Including my own manager, who locks himself in his room for three days and unplugs his phone."

And in 2010, when Pope Benedict XVI apologized to Ireland to atone for decades of abuse, O'Connor condemned the apology for not going far enough and called for Catholics to boycott Mass until there was a full investigation into the Vatican's role.

Announcing the singer's death in a statement yesterday, O'Connor's family said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad.

"Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time."

They did not report the cause of her death.

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