Pope finally forgives Beatles for past excesses
Yeah, this is something that I couldn't ignore. I've seen plenty of problems come out of the Vatican, but the current indiscretions are shocking in their badness. For several centuries, the spin doctors in Rome got very talented at hiding their inconsistencies and sins. But now it seems that in these days of ubiquitous media, it's very difficult to hide errors like this, and you're even more vulnerable if you're in a position of power.
So, the Pope gets caught with his proverbial pants proverbially down around his all too knobbly ankles. What can he possibly do in response to divert attention from this rapidly growing fiasco?
Forgive the Beatles.
Now, if you read the comments attached to this article from the Vancouver Sun, you'll see one person saying that well, it wasn't the Pope after all who issued this act of absolution - it was an unofficial Vatican newspaper called L'Osservatore Romano. So, the Pope didn't actually forgive the Beatles, that was done by some rabble-rousing nobodies in the Vatican's back offices that have nothing better to do than issue past-due absolutions.
Notably, I did a little Google search that reports that the Pope -- oops, that unofficial Vatican newspaper -- initially issued this pardon in 2008. Here's a link to a Scotsman article that muddies the water a little: it appears that the same Vatican newspaper issued some sort of forgiveness of John Lennon in November of 2008. In fact, here's the BBC coverage of that 2008 act of forgiveness:
However, in 2008 it appears that the Pope only forgave John Lennon. The more current articles (and there are several available on line) have him forgiving the whole band.
Because of this inconsistency in dates, I kept looking for more official evidence that this act of forgiveness was actually issued recently, and was not an internet hoax of some kind. And here it is: a New York Times story dated April 12, 2010: "Vatican Gets Around To Praising Beatles." And here is the Associated Press' video coverage of the story:
The whole thing looks a little bit like a red herring to me. And a very stinky one at that. What do absolutions of arguably the most famous rock band in history mean to the Vatican? Could it be that they do this whenever they want to divert attention away from a particularly distasteful story about them?
I began to scour my aging memory, and the internet's too, for some idea of what might have been going on in November 2008 that may have made the Vatican feel a need to forgive any member of the Fab Four, and I came up with a couple possible stories, including this one:
The Vatican's Gay Witch Hunt Continues (The Guardian; November 20, 2008) that reports on an attempt to purge gay men from the priesthood in a "new low."
and this one:
Vatican might excommunicate activist priest from Lutcher for favoring the ordination of woman (New Orlean's Times-Picayune, via the Metro Real Time News, November 12, 2008 )
but perhaps even more damning is this one:
Did Vatican know it was about to reinstate Holocaust-denying bishops? This article was published in The Jewish World on September 23, 2009, but refers to the 2008 statement of one Bishop Richard Williamson. According to the article, "The website of the Roman Catholic diocese of Stockholm said Bishop Anders Arborelius and the Vatican ambassador to Sweden had informed Vatican officials in November, 2008 of Williamson's position" that "there were no gas chambers" during World War II.
And then, in late November 2008, the Pope - woops, that official, unofficial Vatican newspaper - forgave John Lennon.
Yes, it does appear to me that a pattern is emerging: Vatican makes big whopping unforgivable mistakes? Counter it by forgiving the Beatles.
I suspect I could research this all night long to build up more evidence to support that claim.
I prefer to offer another one, instead, that these two acts of forgiveness seem to insinuate:
Perhaps John wasn't all that far off the point. Perhaps this Pope feels that the only way to gain the type of forgiveness he hopes this public will grant him is to grant that same kind of forgiveness to a figure who he acknowledges to be at least his equal, if not greater than him: John Lennon and the Beatles.
This could be the ultimate evidence that John was right all along.