To many, Sinead O’Connor was a troublemaker. To me, she was an incredibly honest truth-telling rule breaker whose singing voice was a gift to all of us.
The Lion and the Cobra was her first solo album produced at Chrysalis Records, where my sister eventually worked, but it was I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got that I played over and over and over again. That voice!
She was vocal against the Catholic Church living through abuse from their own hands. People were outraged that she would call them out as the enemy. She dared to speak out, but instead of listening, people condemned her for dismissing the Church.
Although the norm inside the Catholic Church was to dismiss homosexuality, with strong anti-abortion and divorce beliefs, the abuse inside the Church has been overwhelming. We continue to find out about other abuse cases today. In Ireland, that continued to dismiss all accusations ended up being one of the worst abuses of power preying on young children.
The media and the Catholic Church dismissed O’Connor publicly. Some would look the other way, but as we have become more aware and open about mental health, being blasted publicly for telling one’s truth makes an impact.
When people condemn those who speak out about the Church after the abuse and havoc they have created with their power is something I will never understand. Sinead said that the Church is a house built on sand and that it is a smoke screen. Religion, like politics, is rooted in power. Sinead paid for being vocal about both.
RIP, Sinead O’Connor. Your voice was a gift to all of us. Your voice should have been applauded. We should all learn from how awful O’Connor was treated.