Sinead O’Connor Monday issued her first statement on her controversial destruction last week of a picture of Pope John Paul II on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” claiming that “I’m trying to tell the truth.”

O’Connor’s act on the Oct. 3 broadcast resulted in more than 900 calls to NBC , most of them protesting her action, which occurred after O’Connor’s performance of the Bob Marley song “War” (Daily Variety, Oct. 6).

O’Connor tore up an 8-by-10-inch picture of the pontiff.

The shaven-headed singer has purportedly been out of the country and unavailable until yesterday.

“To the people who have been offended by what I did, I want to say that I respect you for standing up for what you believe in and I want you to know that I am not your enemy,” O’Connor said. “But that I know we have been given lies to believe in and I’m trying to tell the truth.”

O’Connor’s statement accused the Vatican of distorting history and using marriage, divorce and birth control to “control us through our children and through fear.

“Our loss of contact with historical truth has resulted in the highest manifestation of the disease of evil which is child abuse, which is also the root of all evil,” O’Connor said. “This is what we need to fight and why I am fighting.” The statement concluded: “God Is Truth.”

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