As a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in October 1992, Irish songwriter-activist Sin√©ad O'Connor tore a photo of Pope John Paul II saying "Fight the real enemy" in protest of the largely then-unreported allegations of child molestation in the Roman Catholic Church. The stunned silence which followed during the live broadcast turned into a wave of protest against O'Connor. Five years later, she publicly asked for the Holy Father's forgivenessfour years before widespread litigation against the Church in America for decades of undisclosed sexual abuse.
A month befre Michaelangelo's death in 1564, The Council of Trent under Pope Pius IV authorizes the "clothing" of the nudes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Even before the Chapel's completion, Michaelangelo was facing criticism for his full-frontal depiction of the Church's most venerated figures. Michaelangelo's harsgest critics, however, found their likeness in the devils and damned of the Chapel's altarpiece, The Last Judgment.
Among the the more notorious of the tenth-century's warrior-popes was John XII, largely responsible for establishing the so-called "pornocracy" that would last the better of sixty years. Elected to the Pontificate at a ripe 18 years of age, the history of John XII reads more like a Dark Ages picareque novel than the reign of St. Peter's successor. Contemporary documents record the Pope as entertaining prostitutes, taking his neice as lover, and maiming more than one Vatican official. After eight tumultuous years, John XII was deposed and later killed, likely by the jealous husband of one of his mistresses.