Three Catholic priests will go head -to-head with the Pope in this year’s Classical Brit awards.
Pope Benedict XVI received his first Classical Brit nomination — and finds himself battling it out with The Priests, Britain's Got Talent star Faryl Smith and X-Factor's Rhydian Roberts among others.
Each year, The Classical Brit Awards highlight the 10 biggest-selling classical albums of the past 12 months by nominating them for the NS&I album of the year award, the only category to be voted for by the public.
The Priests' second release Harmony will see the three Catholic Fathers vying with His Holiness, whose voice appears on Alma Mater — Music From The Vatican.
The trio of priestly hopefuls are Fr Eugene and his brother Fr Martin O'Hagan, originally from the village of Claudy in Co Londonderry, and Fr David Delargy, who is from Ballymena, Co Antrim.
Votes can be cast via classicfm.co.uk/music and voting closes on April 23.
Meanwhile, what some might consider as a rather ungodly collection of rockers, '60s drug-takers and hell-raisers have been given the holy seal of approval in a Vatican list of the top 10 pop and rock albums of all time.
Choral music and canticles make up its normal areas of interest but the new chart includes The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Oasis.
The Holy See's newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, said the 10 albums were the perfect listening material for anyone who found themselves marooned on a desert island.
The paper said its “semi-serious” list including Michael Jackson, U2 and Carlos Santana, was offered as an alternative to the cheesy tunes that traditionally feature at the San Remo music festival in Liguria, in north-eastern Italy, which starts tomorrow.
Aside from British and American artists, the only other nationality to be represented was Ireland, with U2's Achtung Baby, which was released in 1991.
L'Osservatore Romano said yesterday: “A little handbook of musical resistance could be useful during this time of the year in which, in addition to having put up with the rigours of winter, we have to endure a rising tide of musical festivals.”
Until recently L'Osservatore Romano was the staid and stuffy journal of record for goings-on at the Vatican, but it is now trying to strike a more contemporary tone, commenting on everything from the Harry Potter books and films to The Simpsons and James Cameron's blockbuster Avatar, which it called overly sentimental and derivative.