[Excerpts taken from CNN]
When John Lennon remarked in 1966 that the Beatles were then "more popular than Jesus" his comments prompted outrage in the United States. But this weekend the Vatican's newspaper paid tribute to the band on the 40th anniversary of the release of the "White Album" in an article interpreted by some as a papal pardon for Lennon.
So after 40 years of pain and suffering the Vatican decided that it was time to turn the other cheek and forgive these young boys for their reckless comment.
Steve Turner, author of "The Gospel According To The Beatles"
It's very hard to say what John Lennon would say now if he knew that the pope had forgiven him or the Catholic Church had forgiven him because on the one hand he wrote to an American evangelist called Oral Roberts and said he had been very sorry. But in a book he said he was very glad that it had happened because it effectively ended the Beatles. Because that tour was so bad that it became the last tour the Beatles ever did. So he thought, "Thank you Jesus for causing this to happen -- because you gave me a solo career."
So was John wrong about his comment? I wasn't around for "Beatlemania" but from what I do know it was pretty crazy. I don't recall the last time I saw Christians storming into churches feverishly worshiping the Lord like the teenage girls that were throwing themselves at these new rock gods. So, in a sense he was right, they were more popular than Jesus at that very place and time, but he wasn't saying (I think) that they intended on replacing Jesus Christ but that more people (at least young people) were buying their records instead of attending church. At least now John can rest in peace knowing that he's been forgiven by God's number 1 man on Earth.