The Vatican has formally forgiven late BEATLE John Lennon for declaring the Fab Four "more popular than Jesus" - more than 40 years after the comments were made.
The Imagine legend, who was shot dead in New York in 1980, angered Christians and religious leaders with his controversial remarks in 1966.
He told a journalist, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I do not know what will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity... We're more popular than Jesus now."
At the time, the comments caused uproar and officials of the Roman Catholic Church took offence to Lennon's claims.
But on Saturday (22Nov08), the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, pardoned Lennon in an editorial - blaming the group's immense rise to fame for his comments.
In a special issue marking the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' White Album, the publication's editors write, "After so many years, it sounds merely like the boasting of an English working-class lad struggling to cope with unexpected success."
The article goes on to praise the pop icons, saying only "snobs" would dismiss the Beatles' songs.
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