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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the golden days of Hollywood and said the mysterious fascination of the star system of Hollywood in the 1950s had been superseded by the cult of so-called celebrities.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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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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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.

    Chris
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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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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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    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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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.

    Chris
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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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