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The Vatican and The Beatles 

Sung to the tune of "You Can't Do That" by The Beatles

I've got somethin' to say that might cause you pain

If I catch you buggerin' altar boys again

[CHORUS:] I'm gonna turn you in (turn you in)

And leave you flat (gonna turn you in and leave you flat)

Because I told you before

Oh, you can't do that.

Well it's the second time I've caught you diddlin' him

Do I have to tell you one more time, I think it's a sin

[CHORUS]

Everybody's freeeeakin'

Cuz priests are s'posed to be so pure

But if they'd seeeen

The way he's bent o'er, you know they'd be sore.

But not quite as sore as the kid, I would bet

You've got a white collar so you think it's no sweat

[CHORUS]

Don't know about you, but I was thrilled last week to see that the Vatican says The Beatles are OK. I can't tell you how long I've worried about this very issue. Years of listening to and enjoying The Beatles, dancing to The Beatles, admiring The Beatles, and discussing and teaching students about The Beatles in a rock history course, all done under a cloud of doubt and guilt. But now, the Vatican says everything's OK, so I'm relieved.

And the decision came so quickly! I mean, The Beatles only broke up 40 years ago. Compared to how long it took Rome to clear Galileo's name, the Fab Four are really lucky -- or at least the Fab Two who are still around to hear the big news. I think Ringo was just kidding when he told the press, "I think the Vatican [has] more to talk about than The Beatles." You know he's got to be secretly thrilled. I mean, who would want to be on the wrong side of Rome? Especially considering that when the current Pope was working for John Paul II, he declared that The Beatles' music included "Satanic" references. Seems like Benedict XVI has mellowed out; it's a good thing, too, since some of those young, impressionable Beatles fans (average age today: 60) thought his previous anti-Beatles statements meant the Vatican was a little out of touch.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Last week's article in the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper showed just how on top of pop culture the Roman hierarchy really is. The article called The Beatles' music "beautiful" and noted, "It's true, they took drugs ... they lived dissolute and uninhibited lives. They even said they were more famous than Jesus and put out mysterious messages that were possibly even Satanic, but listening to their songs, all of this seems distant and meaningless ... what would pop music be like without The Beatles?"

Never mind that The Beatles never "put out mysterious messages," heard only when their records were played backward. And never mind that in 1966, at the time John Lennon casually opined to a reporter that The Beatles were "bigger than Jesus," Beatlemania was in full flower and the group really was more popular than Jesus to most teenagers. Never mind all that -- it's the thought that counts.

We did some digging and found out through a couple of Vatican City sources that the Church hierarchy's admiration of The Beatles goes even farther than forgiving them for being degenerate hippies. It turns out that Benedict has a slew of Beatles tunes on his iPod, which he recommends to all new Vatican employees. He even has a special iPod Beatles list for altar boys, too.

Let's end this with song lists. First, what Beatles songs does the Pope listen to while he's working out at the gym, or power-walking his way around St. Peter's Basilica? Here's a partial list, courtesy of our sources, along with some of Benedict's own personal comments:

• "Carry That Weight": How I feel some mornings, being Pope. But then I remember all my neat hats.

• "When I'm Sixty-four": I wish.

• "Can't Buy Me Love": Sometimes I want to sing this to our biggest donors.

• "The Long and Winding Road": Ahh, nostalgia. I play this when I need a good cry.

• "All You Need Is Love": Now that's as Jesus as you can get.

• "Let It Be": Theme song for dealing with those icky pedophiles.

• "Get Back": Maybe my fave, with its "prodigal son" message.

And what tunes does the Vatican recommend for altar boys' iPod? Here's a partial list: "Bad Boy," "You Like Me Too Much," "Do You Want To Know A Secret," "Please Please Me," "If I Fell," "Tell Me What You See," "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby," "Got To Get You Into My Life," "This Boy," "Piggies," "Twist and Shout," and, according our sources, many altar boys' favorite, "Help!"

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