Vatican praises Beatles, sidesteps growing scandal


Maybe the Catholic Church just needs a break these days amid sweeping allegations and controversial reports surfacing about decades of child sex abuse by its priests worldwide.

And maybe that break comes in the form of honoring the Beatles.

That's right, the Vatican in its newspaper L'Osservatore Romano paid tribute to the Fab Four in its weekend editions, praising the rock stars with two articles and a front-page cartoon reproducing the crosswalk immortalized on the cover of the band's album "Abbey Road."

The tribute marked the 40th anniversary of the band's breakup.

However some suggest that perhaps by "making peace" with the one of the world's most famous rock bands of the 1960s and '70s, the Vatican is trying to divert from the public scandal that continues to unfold.

The Vatican said that although the Beatles used drugs, led "dissolute" lives and even claimed that they were bigger than Jesus, these were all in the past - while their music lives on.

"It's true, they took drugs; swept up by their success, they lived dissolute and uninhibited lives," said L'Osservatore Romano. "They even said they were more famous than Jesus," the paper added, recalling a 1966 comment by John Lennon that outraged many Catholics and others.

"But listening to their songs, all of this seems distant and meaningless," the paper added. "Their beautiful melodies, which changed forever pop music and still give us emotions, live on like precious jewels."

L'Osservatore noted that the Beatles' songs have stood the test of time, adding that the band remains "the longest-lasting, most consistent and representative phenomenon in the history of pop music."

Giovanni Maria Vian, editor in chief of L'Osservatore, told the Associated Press he loves the Beatles.

He said that at the time of Lennon's sensational statement, the paper "commented that in reality it wasn't that scandalous, because the fascination with Jesus was so great that it attracted these news heroes of the time."

But critics say the real scandal is the Catholic Church's response to the sex-abuse crisis.

The Vatican may have forgiven the Beatles over the weekend for their "satanic" messages, but Ringo Starr, the band's legendary drummer, told CNN he couldn't care less.

"I think the Vatican, they've got more to talk about than the Beatles," he said.

Photo: John Lennon of the Beatles, center, apologizes for his widely publicized remark that "the Beatles are more popular than Jesus," at a Chicago news conference in 1966. At left is George Harrison, at right is Ringo Starr. (AP file photo)


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  • I have no interest in what people in fancy dress have to say about the Beatles.
    The music of the Beatles will always mean more to me than any religion.

    Posted by Thomas Shaw, 06/21/2011 1:13pm (5 years ago)

  • I seriously do not get why people get upset about the criticisms of the Catholic Church, and find most of the criticisms of articles like this insulting to the very Catholics that they purport to defend.

    Is there some way to cover the institutionalize rape and torture of tens of thousands of children around the world--rape and torture that occurred in 95 percent of all U.S. dioceses (according to a study by John Jay college, commissioned by the U.S. bishops) that won't be called anti-Catholic?

    Also, I find it insulting to Catholics to suggest that they can't take criticism of the Vatican's and the bishops' handling of these rape cases. The condemnation is of the administrative/bureaucratic organs of the church, not of the faith itself. And remember, Catholics are 100 percent of the people abused and probably the vast majority of those who are crying out for change. Listen to Voice of the Faithful and to the many other organizations within the church that are looking for more accountability.

    Part of this fight is from outside the church, to keep the Vatican and bishops accountable to the law (though it is a grave insult to Catholics to imply that they are also not part of this fight by and large). The other part of this fight is from Catholics within the Church trying to safeguard their faith and their Church from the evil deeds of men like Benedict, these bishops and the child rapists.

    The editor of the Times for example, has been accused of anti-Catholicism--though he himself is a Catholic.

    The crimes were committed by about four percent of American priests and you'll notice that the further you go up the ladder--lay people, priests, bishops, Cardinals, the pope--the more complicity you'll find.

    Let's not continue insulting our Catholic brothers and sisters by saying that condemnation of the Vatican's handling of the sex abuse scandal will somehow offend them!

    Posted by Dan, 04/13/2010 12:58pm (6 years ago)

  • good point detective tom just because netanyahu is jewish and obviously out to get rid of the palestinians doesn't mean all jewish people r .... nor can we blame all the muslims for 9/11 (altough the racist right wing wants us to) nor can we blame all christians for those so called christians who r under arrest for plotting to destroy our government (in michigan). if we r to b a part of a peoples democratic movement and contribute something positive to the struggle for a better way of life for all, we better have our thing together. when we blame an entire religion for the wrong doings of some (even if they r in leadership) we isolate ourselves from the mass of the workers and other strata of the population, and push people over to the tea party etc. during ww2 the vatican played a reactionary role in dealing with fascism, but many millions of priests nuns and catholic lay people fought alongside of communists, socialists, democrats etc against fascism. in solidarity jim

    Posted by jim, 04/12/2010 8:15pm (6 years ago)

  • Come on now, the Vatican says something good about the Beatles and it is an attempt to make the public forget about the priest scandal? Can anyone, even the largest critics of the catholic Church believe that?

    What about all the good programs the Church does in poor communities of Chicagoland? Many of those served are not Catholic. No one is in favor of a cover-up and all accusations should be investigated. Let's not forget the good stuff also.

    Posted by detectivetom, 04/12/2010 7:24pm (6 years ago)

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