Hi Greger, Thanks, Bang-Bang, for the uplifting musical interlewd! When I first heard this song I was sure it was related to the supposed ritual carried out after a popes death. Calling out their name thrice and then tapping him on the forehead, asking are you dead? with a little silver hammer that was also used to deface the papal seals to prevent lamepope proclamations, pardons etc. The Vatican maintains this is a myth, like most of Catholic beliefs, my favorite was indulgences!
In the wake of the death of Pope John Paul II on 2 April 2005, news outlets and other sources have issued a variety of contradictory statements about the use of a silver hammer in connection with a pope’s death: it’s an old, discontinued practice, or it remains a current practice; the use of the hammer once served a functional purpose, or its use is (and always has been) purely symbolic. In light of these competing claims, we await a pronouncement from an identifiable (i.e., non-anonymous) Vatican official on the subject before declaring this one either ‘True’ or ‘False.’
One final note for those who are pondering the coincidence: the Beatles song “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” has no connection to papal traditions involving a silver hammer. As Steve Turner noted in A Hard Day’s Write, his volume on the origins of Beatles songs:
“John told me that ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ was about the law of karma,” says former Apple employee Tony King. “We were talking one day about ‘Instant Karma’ because something happened where he’d been clobbered and he’d said that this was an example of instant karma. I asked him whether he believed in that theory. He said that he did and that ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ was the first song that they’d made about that. He said that the idea behind the song was that the minute you do something that’s not right, Maxwell’s silver hammer will come down on your head.”
Paul said at the time that the song “epitomizes the downfalls of life. Just when everything is going smoothly, ‘bang, bang’ down comes Maxwell’s silver hammer and ruins everything.”
Last edited by TatumAH; 02/05/2105:22 PM.
There's nothing wrong with thinking Except that it's lonesome work sevil regit