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    Sinead O'Connor...a PRIEST!?!

    We can safely assume that, at the ripe old age of 32, Sinéad O'Connor is in the midst of one doozy of a midlife crisis.

    The onetime popster known for yearning vocals on hits like "Nothing Compares 2 U" and "Mandinka" hasn't released an album since a 1997 best-of compilation. Instead, she most recently made headlines last month for a "non-suicide" attempt.

    Now, the woman who infamously shredded a pope photo on national TV, has--we're not making this up--been ordained as the first female priest in a Roman Catholic splinter group.

    She made the announcement Monday in a broadcast interview. "Anyone who knows me knows that what I have done makes perfect sense for me. I adore God and believe very much in the power of prayer," O'Connor said.

    The ordination was performed by Bishop Michael Cox of the Latin Tridentine Church. Cox is known in Ireland for performing phone-in confessions.

    Oh, we almost forgot: Sinéad is now going by the name Mother Bernadette Mary. She plans to commence her priestly doings in about six weeks, after she finishes studying with Cox. (She denies her ordination had anything to do with a $200,000 donation she gave the church.)

    O'Connor--whose colorful side-career as a Vatican annoyance includes supporting abortion, appearing as the Virgin Mary in the satirical film The Butcher Boy and, of course, tearing up a picture of Pope John Paul II during a 1992 Saturday Night Live appearance--says she's had a change of heart.

    "I do apologize for [ripping up the photo]. I am sorry I did that. It was a disrespectful thing to do," she said. "I have never even met the pope. I am sure he is a lovely man."

    Last month, O'Connor swallowed a handful of pills after losing custody of her 3-year-old daugther to an ex-lover. She said afterward, "It wasn't really a suicide attempt."

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