Michael Brendan Dougherty on Sinead O’Connor vs. JPII

War – Sinéad O’CONNOR ( a cappella) on TV in 1992 by Petite-Pince-Sans-Rire

There’s a ton of great writing on the internet about tomorrow’s twin canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. But out of all of it, let me point you to Michael Brendan Dougherty’s fascinating piece at The Week, What John Paul II Could Have Learned from Sinead O’Connor. In it, Dougherty, who calls himself a “Traditionalist” Catholic, compares JPII with the moral fury of the woman who, in 1992, famously tore apart his picture on the stage of Saturday Night Live. His conclusion:

Despite her wild anti-religiosity, not to mention how silly this might make me look, I find myself wishing that John Paul just once had spoken or acted with the moral fury expressed in O’Connor’s song “Take Off Your Shoes,” which takes the voice of Jesus (or the victim of a crime, or Sinead’s own voice — it’s hard to tell) and aims it at unfaithful priests:


If you believed at all in your breviary
 / If you believed even in just the ghost of me
 / You wouldn’t now be so surprised to see me
 / In vanity you took the name of me / 
You brought me into infamy / 
And now you’re so surprised to see me


I do not see the upcoming canonizations as the celebration of a great era in the Church — almost the opposite. It is another sign of the Church’s auto-demolition, in which the shepherds who oversaw the Church in her agony are sainted, and our heretics speak with the holy fury of prophets.


One thought on “Michael Brendan Dougherty on Sinead O’Connor vs. JPII

  1. There was a similar article, though not as bleak, in the National Catholic Reporter describing how JP2 was an abysmal judge of personal character. He surrounded himself with men who were corrupt in almost every way. Then, when he succumbed to Parkinson’s disease and was not able to govern, the men who were running the Vatican were completely unwilling to face the sex abuse crisis head on.

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