Mother Superior, jump the gun

the White AlbumHumanae vitae isn't the only thing turning 40 this fall. The Beatles' 1968 double album (the "White Album") is also celebrating a birthday. Historically I have tended to be more on top of Beatles lore than Vatican City trivia, but perhaps it's a sign of maturity that I was reminded of this anniversary by L'Osservatore Romano. Or, rather, by bemused news items, like this one from the BBC, noting that the Vatican daily has published a lengthy article to mark the occasion.

I haven't been able to find the article itself, but apparently it praises the Beatles' creativity and dismisses Lennon's legendary "bigger than Jesus" remark as mere boastfulness.

In a half-page illustrated article, the paper praised The Beatles for what it called their "unique and strange alchemy of sounds and words".

The newspaper said The Beatles's songs had shown an extraordinary capacity for survival and the White Album album remained a "magical musical anthology".

Who says the Vatican is behind the times? I look forward to L'Osservatore Romano's appreciation of spiritual masterworks like Lennon's "Instant Karma," Harrison's "All Things Must Pass," and McCartney's... er... "Live and Let Die."

Trivia bonus: Do you know which Beatle was Catholic (by birth)? Hint: it wasn't Lennon.

Mollie Wilson O’​Reilly is editor-at-large and columnist at Commonweal.

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