‘Blues Brothers’ Anointed by Vatican Newspaper

ABC's Bradley Blackburn reports from New York:

"We're on a mission from God," the Blues Brothers said in their classic 1980 movie.

Now, on the 30th anniversary of its release, the Vatican says it believes them.

This week, the official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano devoted no fewer than five articles to "The Blues Brothers," anointing it as a film with a Catholic message.

"The evidence is not lacking in a work where details certainly are not casual," wrote editor Gian Maria Vian, according to a translation from The Tablet newspaper.

He cited examples of a photo of Pope John Paul II on the set, characters like Sister Mary Stigmata, and other religious touches to support his argument. The storyline follows the Blues Brothers as they attempt to raise money for a church-run orphanage where they grew up.

All this in a movie where Jake Blues, played by John Belushi, declares, "Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ! I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT!"

The Blues Brothers joins a lofty list of Vatican-acclaimed films, including 'The Ten Commandments,' 'The Passion of The Christ,' and 'It's a Wonderful Life.'

Still, not everyone is so thrilled by L'Osservatore Romano's endorsement. Apparently, the Vatican paper's editor is on a mission to make the publication more relevant with pop culture references.

Writing on the Web site of the National Catholic Register, columnist Edward Pentin wrote, "To an increasing number, [pop references] appears to trivialize the Vatican and, ultimately, the Church."

"L'Osservatore Romano is different," he continued, "and should instead be devoting its pages to more spiritual and lofty matters related to the faith."

And while the Church is ready to endorse "The Blues Brothers" now, 30 years ago it was a different story. In a review, Catholic officials in the U.S. noted "rough language and crude situations," saying that scenes were "spectacularly unfunny and uninvolving."

With time comes redemption.

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