The Vatican on Friday praised the Beatles in a newspaper article that appeared to bury the hatchet on John Lennnon's infamous 'more famous than Jesus' remark.
Vatican daily Osservatore Romano said Lennon's comment, which sparked outrage in the mid-1960s, ''today just sounds like a quip from an English working-class lad struggling to cope with unexpected success after growing up with the Elvis myth''.
In the article, marking the 40th anniversary of the famous White Album, Vatican music critics said ''snobs'' might dismiss the Fab Four but ''the talent of Lennon and the other Beatles gave us some of the best pages in modern pop music''.
The critics said: ''38 years after the band split up, the Lennon-McCartney songs have shown an extraordinary resistance to the effects of time, providing inspiration for several generations of pop musicians''.
Osservatore Romano made its peace with Elvis in July.
It recalled the the once-outlawed pelvis-twister as a ''nice, sensitive young man'' who was doomed by fame.
Lennon made his comment on March 4, 1966, to London's Evening Standard.
''Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink... 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''.
The response was immediate. Christians, especially in the American South, made huge pyres of Beatles albums and Protestant pastors threatened fans with excommunications - though the Vatican did not comment.
Elvis fans had been threatened with excommunication by Protestant churches a decade earlier.
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