NEW YORK -- Roman Catholic leaders expressed puzzlement and dismay at Irish singer Sinead O'Connor for tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II and shouting 'fight the real enemy' on NBC television's 'Saturday Night Live.'
NBC said it got more than 500 calls from viewers after the nearly bald singer shocked the audience of SNL Saturday night.
NBC spokesman Curt Block said all but seven telephone calls from viewers were complaints.
'A lot of people were as offended as we were,' said Block.
O'Connor tore up an 8-inch by 10-inch color photo of the pope at the conclusion of 'War,' a song about racism, war and child abuse.
Afterward, O'Conor blew out candles on the stage and walked off as the audience sat in stunned silence.
Block said that during a dress rehearsal earlier Saturday night, O'Connor sang the same song but ripped up a picture of an unidentified baby.
'What she did was completely unexpected,' Block said.
'She needs some professional help and spiritual help wouldn't hurt either,' said a spokesman for Bishop Thomas Daily, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brookyn and Queens.
Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the New York Archdiocese, said, 'To me, what she did was an act of hatred and promoted intolerance. Pope John Paul is a tireless advocate for peace. Her action would promote violence.'
O'Connor has been critical of the Roman Catholic Church's stand on abortion and led a pro-choice march through her native Dublin earlier this year.
O'Connor brought on a storm of controversy in 1990 when she refused to allow the National Anthem to be played before her performance at the Garden State Arts Center in New Jersey and she called off an apparance on Saturday Night Live after learning that foul-mouthed comedian Andrew Dice Clay would be host of the program.