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Thread: Vatican forgives John Lennon

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    Default Vatican forgives John Lennon

    Vatican 'forgives' John Lennon
    By David Willey
    BBC News, Rome



    At the time radio stations banned their music and concerts were cancelled
    A Vatican newspaper has forgiven the late English singer John Lennon for saying four decades ago that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus.

    In an article praising The Beatles, L'Osservatore Romano said Lennon had just been showing off.

    Lennon told a British newspaper in 1966 - at the height of Beatlemania - that he did not know which would die out first, Christianity or rock and roll.

    At the time, the comparison sparked controversy in the US.

    The semi-official Vatican newspaper marked the 40th anniversary of The Beatles' "White Album" with an article praising Lennon and the Fab Four from Liverpool.


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    Youthful joke

    The paper dismissed Lennon's much-criticised remark that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ as a youthful joke.

    The paper described the remark as "showing off, bragging by a young English working-class musician who had grown up in the age of Elvis Presley and rock and roll and had enjoyed unexpected success".


    Charles Wheeler on the reaction to John Lennon's claim in 1966
    L'Osservatore Romano recently got a new editor and now - apart from chronicling the Pope's daily doings and printing the texts of papal speeches - it sometimes runs articles on entertainment on inside pages, together with extensive reporting on world affairs.

    In a half-page illustrated article, the paper praised The Beatles for what it called their "unique and strange alchemy of sounds and words".

    The newspaper said The Beatles's songs had shown an extraordinary capacity for survival and the White Album album remained a "magical musical anthology".

    In an another article on the same page entitled "Twilight of the gods" the newspaper lamented the passing of the golden days of Hollywood and said the mysterious fascination of the star system of Hollywood in the 1950s had been superseded by the cult of so-called celebrities.

    Although Pope Benedict has criticised many aspects of modern pop culture, he now allows the newspaper of the tiny independent Vatican state to reflect the reality of the world outside in a way that would have been unthinkable in the days of Pope Paul VI who reigned during heyday of The Beatles.

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    I believe the Pope has also forgiven the Jews for crucifying Jesus Christ as well, has he not? Lennon's remark has been brushed off as the naive remark of a boy who was showing off, although actually there was some truth in what he said. This just demonstrates that the Vatican is out of touch with the world that it claims to want to lead.

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    The remark was not that serious and he was not showing off. The Beatles were prisoners as the world media was overboard on them. The remark about Jesus Christ was a loose analogy of the situation they were in, emphasing the media's obsession with them, which John didn't like after a while.

    Wasn't it Lindon Johnson who said, "if you write a book about the 1960s, the word Beatles would have to be stamped over every page".
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    I believe the Pope has also forgiven the Jews for crucifying Jesus Christ as well, has he not?
    Well Jesus Christ was Jewish. The pope also said the Jew are not the chosen people as that pact with God expired when Jesus Christ came along.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    The remark was not that serious and he was not showing off. The Beatles were prisoners as the world media was overboard on them. The remark about Jesus Christ was a loose analogy of the situation they were in, emphasing the media's obsession with them, which John didn't like after a while.
    Hi Waterways

    I think the remark had less to do with the pressure cooker the Beatles were in due to their fame than that Lennon was reflecting on the degree to which church attendance had fallen off in Britain in the Sixties, and that the younger generation had more of an allegiance to pop stars such as the Beatles than to any church. In the United States, the same would not be exactly true since church attendance, for example, in the American south or "Bible Belt" would not have fallen off in the same way as it had in Britain, which is what caused the extreme reaction with the burning of Beatles records and a sudden revolt against the group. All a matter of perspective.

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    I'm sure Lennon meant that they were as popular as Jesus Christ in the sense that the name The Beatles was known everywhere. To the extent that if you went to a 'lost' tribe in Africa or the Amazonian rainforest they would have heard of them! As usual though, the religious 'freaks' had to misconstrue the statement...
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    1966 - a pretty scary year for the Beatles with one thing and another. JL made that remark flippantly to Maureen Cleave some months earlier and nothing ensued, then all of a sudden the USA got hold of it and all hell let loose. Three things happened in 66 that practically led to the ending of their touring and the excuse of not being able to replicate their studio artisty has been found to be just that really - a convenient excuse.
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    I'm sure John will rest easy in his grave, having been forgiven by an organisation which ensured its own survival through the middle ages using methods involving extreme forms of torture and burning people alive.

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    Yes, and some of its clergy sodomising children
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark R View Post
    I'm sure Lennon meant that they were as popular as Jesus Christ in the sense that the name The Beatles was known everywhere. To the extent that if you went to a 'lost' tribe in Africa or the Amazonian rainforest they would have heard of them! As usual though, the religious 'freaks' had to misconstrue the statement...
    That is how I read it. Lennon was quite mystified at why the Beatles were so popular. He always said they were just a rock n roll band - which in reality they were not.
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    I think when the Beatles hit America the Beatle mania machine was there to be welcomed. What they didn?t take into account was the paranoid Committee for UN American activities was still up and running, the Mc Carthyite madness was still strangling the American art and creativity community. Along comes John the cheeky scouser who not out of a lack of respect for anyone and anything, but full of life and youth makes a statement or observation, that due to the mass media they feel like the biggest thing since slice bread. Well here?s a bit of heresy. How intellectual was John? Artistically creative and very bright yes, but at his age how could he understand that direct communications with the masses had always been under scrutiny. Charlie Chaplin did it without speaking. The cinema for thirties people was everything and script writers had entertained the masse?s not without political scrutiny. John wasn?t taking that into account. It was not the religious community alone who went for John in fact it was more about his perceived RED tendency that upset the paranoid overseers of the time. How relevant is it to us how the Catholic Church feel? I don?t see the churches being overcrowded.!
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    I am more than surprised that this thread, which has turned into a Catholic bashing thread, has been allowed to remain open. Yes, there were some priests who behaved abominably with children and they should be punished as severely as possible. This does not mean that ALL priests are like that or that all paedophiles are Catholic priests. I fail to see why that subject had to be brought up in a thread like this. I am sure it would have been closed rather quickly and deleted if it had been peppered with anti-muslim comments, but Catholics are seen to be fair game for all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LondonBeatlesFan View Post
    I am more than surprised that this thread, which has turned into a Catholic bashing thread, has been allowed to remain open. Yes, there were some priests who behaved abominably with children and they should be punished as severely as possible. This does not mean that ALL priests are like that or that all paedophiles are Catholic priests. I fail to see why that subject had to be brought up in a thread like this. I am sure it would have been closed rather quickly and deleted if it had been peppered with anti-muslim comments, but Catholics are seen to be fair game for all.
    If you took the time to read my post properly you would see that I said some of its clergy (post#9) I never said that all priests did. I was just saying that it is a bit hypocritical by some in the church to criticise John Lennon. Actually, as a stone cold atheist I couldn't give a toss for any religion.
    Last edited by Mark R; 11-25-2008 at 09:16 PM.
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    I am following a good thread on this on a Beatles forum. It seems the Vatican is just trying to be cool in being seen to be up to date and hip. Lennon would probably be squirming as he wouldn't want their approval.

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    I believe that John Lennon's comment was taken out of context in the USA. If I can believe what I've read about it and what I've been told, it didn't cause an uproar here at the time. I am a huge fan of the Beatles and I don't think that his comment should have caused such a furore. He was known for speaking his mind and making throwaway comments.
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    Default To Mark R.

    Hello Mark. I know that you didn't say that it was all priests. I just wanted to make that point as there are just so many comments flying around about priests being paedophiles. I would be the first person to call for priests who are guilty of child abuse to be imprisoned for a very long time and thrown out of the priesthood. I just don't want people to think that such behaviour is the norm.

    I regularly play the organ at a church whose priest was wrongly accused of sexual crimes against children. He was suspended for two years pending investigation. He had to attend court on more than one occasion and then the person withdrew the allegations. He's been reinstated now but he suffered terribly. He's a decent man who has done a lot of good for the poor and needy, so I just wanted to set the record straight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LondonBeatlesFan View Post
    Hello Mark. I know that you didn't say that it was all priests. I just wanted to make that point as there are just so many comments flying around about priests being paedophiles. I would be the first person to call for priests who are guilty of child abuse to be imprisoned for a very long time and thrown out of the priesthood. I just don't want people to think that such behaviour is the norm.

    I regularly play the organ at a church whose priest was wrongly accused of sexual crimes against children. He was suspended for two years pending investigation. He had to attend court on more than one occasion and then the person withdrew the allegations. He's been reinstated now but he suffered terribly. He's a decent man who has done a lot of good for the poor and needy, so I just wanted to set the record straight.
    Hi LBF. I can understand your concern. Don't get me wrong, even though I have no religious beliefs I don't like to hear (or read) of things like the priest you mention (him being innocent and that). I'm glad to hear that he was reinstated.

    Regards

    Mark
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    Well the thing about all this is much the same as some of the other stuff flying about. John is not here to defend himself. What forgiving him is about is beyond me. I think that during this year of culture the secular status of scousers should be respected. You do not have to belong or identify with any religion. Modern society allows for that. London Beatles fan has the right to point out an injustice. Mark is I think echoing the misgivings quite a few of us have about religion. We all have opinions and like I said our John is not here to put his over.
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    Thank you, Mark.
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    The vatican never protested about him at the time so I don't see there's anything to forgive anyway.

    It was the bible belt southern states of America that burnt the records and even the kkk got in on the act. Ringo said let them burn them, they have to buy them first to do that - one of his more sensible quotes I might add.

    Brian Epstein made him say it was wrong at the press conference because they had a U.S. tour coming up. You could tell he hated saying that, he even backtracks that he's saying he was wrong at one point.
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