Former Sex Pistols leader singer John Lydon has joined the Catholic Church and refuses to discount the possibility of ‘being Pope one day.’ Lydon, 57, said he was moved to join the Catholic faith after a walking trip to Santiago de Compostela in 2010. ‘I saw the light,’ said the usually foul-mouthed rocker. ‘But I’d been interested in religion for yonks. My band PIL is basically an allusion to pilgrimage. Even when I was in the Pistols I was singing about eschatological issues. ‘God Save the Queen.’ Who, in the end, will be saved? Who is the elect and who is the reprobate? My lyrics went deeper than anyone gave me credit for.’
The news has dismayed former fans who delighted in such lines as ‘I am the antichrist’ (Anarchy in the UK, 1976). ‘The sell-out began with the Country Life ads,’ said former band-mate Glen Matlock. ‘But joining the Catholic Church, it’s a joke, right?’
Lydon maintains his faith is genuine, and argues that he has never lost his subversive edge. ‘I’m still a punk at heart. I only agreed to do the Country Life ads because of the rude pun in the first syllable, the same one I used in ‘Pretty Vacant.’ And yeah, it’s true I’d like to be Pope one day. There hasn’t been an ‘English’ Pope since Nicholas Breakspeare in 1159. But I’d rather be a kind of punk version of a cleric. The Archbishop of Cunterbury, if you will.’
The Vatican declined to comment.