Beatles bigger than Jesus? Just a Lennon joke: Vatican paper

Beatles bigger than Jesus? Just a Lennon joke: Vatican paper

PARIS (AFP) — The Vatican’s daily newspaper marked the 40th anniversary of the “The White Album” by dismissing as a “quip” John Lennon’s notorious claim that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ.

The legendary double album — which came out on November 22, 1968 at the height of the Fab Four’s influence and popularity — was “a magical musical anthology” from a band “full of talent,” L’Osservatore Romano said.

Beatles clarify Lennon’s statement

Rather inevitably, its lengthy article kicked off with Lennon’s remark to a London newspaper in March 1966 that “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink … We’re more popular than Jesus now”.


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.

The article, marking the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ “The White Album,” went on to praise the pop band.


“The fact remains that 38 years after breaking up, the songs of the Lennon-McCartney brand have shown an extraordinary resistance to the passage of time, becoming a source of inspiration for more than one generation of pop musicians,” it said.

– Source: Vatican forgives John Lennon for Jesus quip, Reuters, Nov. 22, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

See also: ‘Bigger than Jesus? The Beatles were a Christian band’

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This post was last updated: Nov. 24, 2008