Beatles' John Lennon 'forgiven' for 'Jesus' claim

Vatican newspaper says Lennon was just showing off

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Semi-official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has run an article forgiving the late Beatle John Lennon for a controversial statement he made in 1966, when he claimed that his band were "more popular than Jesus".

The article in the newspaper, which normally reports on the comings and goings of the Pope, said that Lennon had just been showing off and praised the band.

The article said that Lennon's comments had been "showing off, bragging by a young English working-class musician who had grown up in the age of Elvis Presley and rock and roll and had enjoyed unexpected success".

The newspaper was marking the 40th anniversary of the band's self-titled album known as 'The White Album'.

Lennon's 1966 comments, made in an interview with the London Evening Standard, had criticised religion.

"Christianity will go," he said. "It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right.

"We're more popular than Jesus now. I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

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