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Bob Dylan, Jakob Dylan, and the Catholic Church

bob dylan and pope john paul

From an interview with Bob Dylan that appeared in Der Spiegel on October 16, 1997:

Q: How was it for you to be playing for the Pope in Bologna a few weeks ago?

A: A great show.

Q: Why?

A: It just was.

In another interview (recently cited by Ken Layne, writing irreverently in The Awl), Bob said of the show, “He’s the Pope. You know what I mean? There’s only one Pope, right?”

Admittedly, these are just a couple of odd, tiny pieces in the giant jigsaw puzzle that is Bob Dylan, but they perhaps point to certain sympathies, certain leanings with regards to Catholicism.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Now we have Bob’s son Jakob coming out with a new Wallflowers album that has a lead-off song entitled “Hospital for Sinners” that also bespeaks a leaning in the direction of a distinctly Catholic sensibility. Listen to it here and see what you think.

Finally, let’s hear from Fr. Barron on Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, and Thomas Merton.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, other than: Bob, Jakob, Thomas, Keith … I’ll see you at Mass sometime.


  1. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    ‘There’s only one Pope, right?’


    • Seriously? I’ve seen many specious connections and claims made about the Dylan family, but this one is just silly. Bob’s comment reflects merely an understanding that the Pope is known (and, if you stretch, respected); nothing about his position. Jakob’s “Hospital For Sinners” has nothing uniquely Catholic in it, just general religious imagery.

      • Jonathan Potter says

        “Some have crosses, bells that ring
        Most have angels painted with wings
        Old men and blind ones can find their way in
        Got statues and apostles and other godly things”

        This is just general religious imagery? Nothing Catholic about it? Right.

      • Matthew Lickona says

        Seriously? I’ve seen many high-handed dismissals and disavowals made about the Dylan family, but this one is just silly. Performing for someone who is merely “known” does not necessarily make for a great show, and being known is very different from being absolutely singular. And Mr. Potter’s reply regarding “Hospital for Sinners,” is a fine one. Let’s be friends, Aqua. No one’s saying Dylan is a crypto-Catholic, any more than we’re saying Tom Waits is.

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