The fake war against the Beatles

VATICAN CITY — Many news headlines over the past week contained some variant of: “Vatican forgives/makes peace with/absolves the Beatles!”

The Beatles are pictured in an undated photo released by Capitol Records. From left are: George Harrison, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. (CNS photo/Capitol Records)

It came after the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, published an article April 10 praising the pop group, saying their “beautiful melodies are like precious jewels.”

It’s certainly not the first time the Vatican newspaper has paid tribute to the band. Here and here are just the most recent examples of praise.

So obviously the paper’s editors seemed surprised that the press would think the Fab Four had been on some sort of hate-list of theirs.

In an effort to show that the L’Osservatore Romano had never been part of the wave of contempt and condemnation that swept across America and other parts of the world in 1966 when John Lennon remarked that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, the paper reprinted an article it ran Aug. 14, 1966 — the same month Lennon’s quip was taken out of context by an American teen magazine and sparked protests nationwide.

Today’s edition of the Vatican paper says that the Beatles never needed the paper’s absolution and that their 1966 story shows there was “already back then, an unexpected consonance between the Vatican newspaper and John Lennon.”

L’Osservatore Romano’s original 1966 story talked about the negative impact Lennon’s remark had on the public and how record sales had plummeted in just a few days. It said such an upheaval made Lennon publicly reflect on his comment, which the paper surmised, was not really a reflection of his being impious, but rather being flippant. He obviously hadn’t thought about the kind of impact a comment about Christ and religion would have on people, it said.

The 1966 article then provided ample quotes of a statement Lennon made in August in Chicago where the Beatles headed for the first leg of their first tour in the United States.

In the statement Lennon explained how it had never crossed his mind to say anything against religion. He said his remark that the group was bigger than Jesus was part of a larger discussion in which he deplored the fact that people, especially young people, cared more about the Beatles than Jesus and religion.

Lennon, in fact, spoke out often about how that remark had been taken out of context from the original interview that appeared in a British publication in March 1966.

Here are the transcripts of two interviews the Beatles did in Chicago explaining Lennon’s true intentions: Aug. 11, 1966 and Aug. 12, 1966.

Lennon also did an interview in Montreal with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1969 saying the Beatles were a Christian band that wanted to bring people closer to God and that Lennon considered himself as “one of Christ’s biggest fans.”

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7 Responses to The fake war against the Beatles

  1. Beatles fan says:

    I wish the story could end on that relatively happy note. In later years, Lennon could get downright nasty and coarse when talking about Jesus. I recall that one of the last tapes he made was a demo of a song-in-progress titled “Serve Yourself,” which was his response to Bob Dylan’s very Christian “Gotta Serve Somebody.”

    May he rest in peace, through God’s mercy, which is the only way any of us can!

  2. Ron Zamora says:

    The Beatles were blest with their God given talent And were in the right place at the right time in the world’s view. John’s mission in life was for the betterment of humankind and for people to live in peace !

  3. Beatles fan says:

    Well, that’s everybody’s mission. I love the guy’s music, but I’m not keen to canonize rock stars or sport stars for virtues they don’t really exemplify. He wrote a good jingle about peace, but undermined it by promoting and funding the causes of militants. And he showed little but scorn for people who disagreed with him. All I’m saying is he should’ve given it more than a chance.

  4. Paul says:

    The Beatles were the star purveyors in the 1960’s and 1970’s of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Their words and, above all, their actions, individually and collectively, have always showed contempt for the laws of Christ and the Church.

    The Church has no reason to waste its attention on these buffoons and their trash, musical and otherewise.

  5. Joe says:

    I was catechized..or sort the 70’s and 80’s so the Beatles were part of our Catholic school curriculum along with making collages about litter, reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull and watching “drugs are bad” videos.

    It wasn’t until I was well into adulthood that I realized that “imagining there was no Heaven” was sort of dreadful and unCatholic. As well as “doing it in the road” and calling “my Sweet Lord, Hare Krishna”.

    Lennon being Christian would make sense. He fits in with most of what we’re getting with the SOCIAL JUSTICE priests who are still running parishes..and being appointed bishops.

  6. Paula says:

    Paul said: “The Beatles were the star purveyors in the 1960’s and 1970’s of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.”

    Really? Star purveyors of sex? Paul McCartney? The man who was married to his first wife, was totally faithful to her, and stayed by her side until she died of breast cancer?

    What semi-nude girls did the Beatles have in their videos (although it was film back then)? Or splayed out on their album covers? When did they get into the celeb-rags for having groupie-young-things draped all over them, as is seen everywhere today (especially the hip-hop crowd)?

    They weren’t saints, but they had a good amount of decentness about them. McCartney was one of them; a decent bloke.

  7. Judas says:

    “The Church has no reason to waste its attention on these buffoons and their trash, musical and otherewise.”

    Paul, that was a little ~weird~. I daresay your overt hatred is less than Christ-like.



    Go out and buy The White Album immediately.

    “Otherwise” quit dropping the mind-stealer phrase of “The Church has no reason to … ” etc.

    You’re doing that weird CANDY LAND thing. “The Church” takes two steps FORWARD clarifying it was a “non-war” and you want to take a step BACK by aiming at The Beatles all over again! Heh.

    (smiling menacingly)

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