VATICAN CITY—In the first-ever union of the Word of God and the Synthesizer, the Catholic Church's College of Cardinals voted unanimously Monday to incorporate the lyrics of Yes into the New Testament.
The resulting new Bible, the Revised Standard YesScriptures, will replace the Jerusalem Bible of 1966 as the standard accepted record and vehicle of divine revelation.
"Let us rejoice in this momentous occasion," said Pope John Paul II in a special service at St. Peter's. "And let no man be unmoved, remembering the words of Jesus: 'In and around the lake, mountains come out of the sky, and they stand there.' Amen."
In addition to a number of new sections, including the four-part Book of Bruford (a. Cord of Life; b. Eclipse; c. The Preacher; d. The Apocalypse), the revised YesScriptures will feature a dazzling, airbrushed gatefold by artist Roger Dean.
Perhaps the most significant change is a more complete history of the life of Christ. In the revised account of Christ's temptation by Satan, the Lord and Savior is brought to a mountaintop overlooking a pastel landscape filled with exotic, half-melted rock formations and wispy, cloudlike trees. Christ, though tempted, "can see all good people turn their heads each day, and, so satisfied, He continues on His way."
Christ's rejection of the Lord Of Lies is then followed by a 16-minute keyboard solo by synthesizer maestro Rick Wakeman.
"God's word is not always clear, and neither is the path Jesus wants us to take in life," New York's Cardinal O'Connor said of the new scriptures. "But when Jesus tells His disciples at the Last Supper to eat of His body and drink of His blood, for 'He can feel no sense of measure, no illusions as He taketh refuge in young man's pleasure,' I as a Christian take comfort in these words."
Despite being called for by pro-Yes movements within the Church for decades, the decision marks the first official Catholic acknowledgement of Yes-inclusive language and Yes-positive Biblical interpretations as actually being the Divine Word.
"The Holy See's decision is a victory for progressives everywhere," said Jethro Tull frontman and longtime Christian Ian Anderson. "The updated Bible passages reflect the tremendously significant role that the concept album plays in our modern lives."
The Catholic Church is not the first religious sect to embrace progressive-rock reform. Since 1974, Reform Jews have, as part of Rosh Hashanah services, sung verses from The Book Of Genesis Featuring Peter Gabriel. For years, Unitarian educators have taught the works of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, including Brain Salad Surgery.
Though the majority of Bible scholars are welcoming the new YesScriptures, a small minority stands strongly opposed.
"The messages in the YesScriptures are rarely clear and almost always of questionable morality," said Michael Fox, chair of Yale University's Divinity School. "While Christ's message may seem obvious when, in Howe 3:16, He sayeth unto James the Lesser: 'Owner of a lonely heart, yea, much better than thee, O owner of a broken heart,' it is possible that this passage contains intended irony on the part of the Savior, and that the verse actually signifies a message of profound sympathy for the broken-hearted heart-owners of Mankind."
"The Word of God is the rock upon which we have built the Catholic Church," Fox concluded. "It is not Fragile."