On Wednesday, L’Osservatore Romano (LOR) followed up on an article from last Saturday’s edition which paid homage to the legacy of the Beatles. After reactions from international media and Ringo Starr cast the previous article as an attempt to grant "forgiveness" to the artists, the Vatican paper stated on Wednesday that there was "no need" for absolution.
The Saturday article was spun by the international media as an effort by the Vatican to “absolve” the Beatles for John Lennon’s words: “We’re more popular than Jesus.”
The story on the Beatles, by Giuseppe Fiorentino and Gaetano Vallini, begins, "It's true they took stupefying substances; overwhelmed by success they lived dissolute and uninhibited years; in an excess of boastfulness they even said they were more famous than Jesus; they had fun launching mysterious messages, even Satanic, according to improbable declarations ... sure they weren't the best example for young people at the time, but neither (were they) the worst."
Forty years after their break-up the Beatles' "beautiful melodies remain as precious jewels that have changed light music forever” and continue to raise emotions, the article goes on.
Noting the lasting effects of the short, prolific and influential seven years in which the band was together, the writers ventured to ponder not what would have happened if they had reunited, but what music would have been like without them.
The writers' perspective, which was printed on April 10 to observe the 40th anniversary of the official break-up of the band, was not intended to extend absolution “of which the four artists from Liverpool naturally did not have any need,” LOR said.
“Consonance” between the Holy See and the Beatles had already between witnessed, according to the Vatican paper, when John Lennon issued an apology in 1966 for having expressed himself in a way which may have been confusing to people.
In a press conference in Chicago, he clarified his words, saying, "I'm not anti-God, anti-Christ or anti-religion. I was not saying we are greater or better. I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky.
“I'm sorry I said it, really. I never meant it to be a lousy anti-religious thing. From what I've read, or observed, Christianity just seems to be shrinking, to be losing contact."
In an article from LOR, dated the day after the press conference, an anonymous journalist acknowledged Lennon’s words, noting that his remarks about the “absenteeism or the distraction of many” undeniably had “some foundation.”
Asked by CNN what he thought about apparent "forgiveness" from the Vatican, Ringo Starr said this week, "Didn't the Vatican say we were satanic or possibly satanic -- and they've still forgiven us? I think the Vatican, they've got more to talk about than the Beatles."