We've taken issue with some of the coverage of serious issues related to the Vatican recently. That's a bit of an understatement. Now, the following story is much less serious, but it shows how far afield many professionals in the mainstream media are when it comes to understanding the Vatican or its history. Here's the headline from The New York Times:
Vatican Gets Around to Praising the Beatles
The story says the headline refers to an Associated Press interview with Giovanni Maria Vian, editor-in-chief of L'Osservatore Romano. Here's the bulk of the story:
At a time when the Vatican could use a little positive notice in the news media, the Holy See has momentarily turned attention away from the helter skelter it has lately faced by offering its enthusiastic praise for the Beatles. In its weekend editions, L'Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican, commemorated the Beatles on the 40th anniversary of that group's breakup, and endorsed the Fab Four's music without quite giving a thumbs-up to the band members' lifestyles, The Associated Press reported. "It's true, they took drugs; swept up by their success, they lived dissolute and uninhibited lives," L'Osservatore Romano wrote. "But," the newspaper added, "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."
Did the Holy See really turn away its attention from the media onslaught related to the handling of abusive priests . . . in favor of the Beatles? No, of course not. And as the non-Catholic reader who submitted the story asks, how many times do reporters need to be told that the random remarks of a journalist in Rome aren't equivalent even to the Vatican press office, much less some official announcement from the papacy?
The "gets around to" in the headline is also bizarre. Not just because of the general silliness but because the Times apparently didn't "get around" to discovering the general lack of newsworthiness.
To wit, here's a headline to a story about the recent interview from the April 11, 2010 Telegraph (U.K.):
Vatican forgives The Beatles for 'bigger than Jesus' comment
And here's a November 24, 2008 headline from The Scotsman:
Pope forgives Lennon for saying Beatles were bigger than Jesus
I guess they're "getting around" to forgiving the Beatles a lot these days. Mark Shea at the National Catholic Register had some interesting media commentary about the issue the previous time the Beatles and the Vatican were in the news.