On the 30th anniversary of the 1980 musical comedy movie The Blues Brothers, The Vatican‘s official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano advised Catholics worldwide to watch the film. Developed from the two Saturday Night Live sketch characters played by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, the Blues Brothers embark on “a mission from God” in the movie, to save the Catholic orphanage where they grew up from foreclosure. So retroactively topical!
So it got us thinking, what other cool or geeky things have the Vatican been known to admit to liking? Hit the jump and find out.
The Beatles: According to NME, this April the Vatican forgave the biggest pop band in the world over John Lennon‘s cheeky comment claiming they were “bigger than Jesus” in 1966. NME cites the original statement:
“It’s true, they took drugs; swept up by their success, they lived dissolute and uninhibited lives. They even said they were more famous than Jesus. But, listening to their songs, all of this seems distant and meaningless … Their beautiful melodies, which changed forever pop music and still give us emotions, live on like precious jewels.” The band were described as “the longest-lasting, most consistent and representative phenomenon in the history of pop music.”
Harry Potter: Though the wizard series came under fire by various Christian groups for being Satanist and corruptive, L’Osservatore lauded Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for making the distinction between good and evil “clear,” and that good should overcome evil, which “sometimes … requires hard work and sacrifice.” As HuffPo reports, though the review criticizes J.K. Rowling for not making an overt “reference to the transcendent,” it applauds how the “spastic search for immortality epitomized by Voldemort is stigmatized.” Even earlier in 2003, Father Peter Fleetwood told the BBC: “I don’t think there’s anyone in this room who grew up without fairies, magic and angels in their imaginary world.” So take that, occult-haters.
2001: A Space Odyssey: Pope John Paul II was very much a supporter of the sciences, believing that they were perhaps not as separate as one would initially think. So it’s not so surprising that the then-Pope, also a screenwriter, endorsed Stanley Kubrick‘s 1969 sci-fi classic in a list published in 1995 of 45 praiseworthy films. According to MJ-Upbeat.com–so take this with a grain of salt–Bill Blakemore, ABC‘s Vatican correspondent from 1978 to 1983, had this to say about the Vatican and the movie:
His Vatican recently named 2001: A Space Odyssey as one of the most important movies of all time. We know that he sees no division between what science is saying and what his religion is saying. He often uses the quote from Jesus, “The truth will make you free,” or, “It’s the truth that makes us free.” And…this is sort of the third corner of the triangle, if you will — between his faith, his politics, and his science. They’re all in the same world.
Anymore to add to the list we’ve compiled? Any things you think the Vatican ought to bless? Let us know in the comments!