The Vatican Forgives John Lennon November 24, 2008

The Vatican Forgives John Lennon

In true fashion, the Vatican is late in making an apology.

At least this time they’re only decades late instead of centuries. Next time, maybe they’ll only be years behind the rest of us:

The Vatican’s newspaper has finally forgiven John Lennon for declaring that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, calling the remark a “boast” by a young man grappling with sudden fame.

The comment by Lennon to a London newspaper in 1966 infuriated Christians, particularly in the United States, some of whom burned Beatles’ albums in huge pyres.

“The remark by John Lennon, which triggered deep indignation mainly in the United States, after many years sounds only like a ‘boast’ by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success, after growing up in the legend of Elvis and rock and roll,” Vatican daily Osservatore Romano said.

Bill Mutranowski of Atheist Cartoons puts it this way:

(Thanks to John for the story!)

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  • To reduce the comment to a simple “boast”, while not entirely untrue, strikes me as a potentially deliberate effort to ignore or trivialize the much more damaging (from the perspective of Church leaders) comment Lennon made in the same interview:

    “Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

    Sure, “Bigger than Jesus” got all the headlines, but this sentence really cuts to the core of much of what’s wrong with Christianity, and to simply ignore it and dismiss Lennon as “a young working-class Englishman” only ignores the point.

  • Hm, the anniverseray of Lenon’s death is just around the corner. I’m sure his remains are thrilled by both of these events.

  • Herb

    Lennon was an atheist, and as such he didn’t accept Jesus as his Savior. So didn’t the Vatican just apologize to someone whom they consider to be in hell?

  • Siamang

    Forgiving someone isn’t the same thing as making an apology.

    The church has not apologized. Instead, they’ve forgiven someone for saying something. Plus, it’s kind of douchey to “forgive” someone who’s dead for doing something they did during their life. It’s kind of a passive-aggressive move on the part of the Church.

    It’s like saying, ok, okay, we’ll be BIG and dredge up one thing a dude said during his entire life, build it up like it’s a huge insult, and then say we forgive him for it. Of course, the more offended they claim to be, the more magnanimous they’re being by forgiving him for this grievous wrong.

    At any rate, it’s not an apology, as an apology requires actual humility and some personal admission of the sin of pride and some confession of being in the wrong.

  • Herb

    You’re right Siamang – I was giving too much credit.

  • Who the fuck asked for forgiveness from the Vatican? But I guess before I get all irate over the arrogance of such presumptions I’ll just follow John’s advice and Let It Be.

  • Richard Wade

    We, the Great and Magnanimous Richard Wade, Having Fallen into Neglect and Disrepute, and Needing to Boost Our Narcissistic Desire to Pretend to Relevance, Hereby Unilaterally and out of the Blue Proclaim that We Forgive the Holy Roman Catholic Church for Annoying a Certain Unnamed and Obscure French Huguenot Baker Who Lived in a Now Non-Existent Village near Dijon in 1562, Having Unkindly Given him a Series of Migraine Headaches and Generally Making his Life Difficult for a Few Years. We Make this Gracious, Generous and Portentous Gesture of Our Precious and Sought-After Forgiveness Entirely From Our Own Inflated Sense of Self-Importance.

  • theShaggy

    Darwin’s Dagger already said it, kinda, but…

    It’s so big of the Vatican Church to decide that the best thing to spend their time doing is forgive a dead man for a comment he never really asked forgiveness for during his life.

    Really, that type of forethought and sensitivity, to act as if a man who didn’t really care about what you thought in the first place shows a type of complete benevolence that is not at all like self-righteous arrogance.

  • I thought Christians would love the Beatles since when you play “Number Nine Number nine” backwards on the White Album it sounds like “Turn me on dead man”. Very Christian.

    Yes, I grew up with turn-tables…

  • If the remark were made today, I wonder if there would have been more indignation or less.

  • Seth C.

    I think they would just discount it as another heathen saying something crazy…

  • Mathew Wilder

    +100 internet points for Wade!

    Was it really even a boast? IIR, Lennon was taken out of context regarding that remark.

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