Pope Benedict XVI: Big Tupac Fan?

A few weeks ago, a band called Casting Crowns stormed the Billboard album chart and outsold debuts by the likes of 50 Cent, Kris Allen, Them Crooked Vultures and Janet Jackson. It was another testament to the power of Christian rock, which is constantly spreading throughout the world and finding new mainstream audiences. They may be disappointed to find out that their influence perhaps doesn't extend to the Vatican — especially considering the likes of Tupac and Muse may be in heavy rotation there.

On Thursday (December 3), the Vatican released a playlist via MySpace Music that includes inspirational music and a selection from Mozart's "Don Giovanni," but it also features Tupac's 1998 hit "Changes," the latest single by Muse and a tune by Seattle folk-poppers Fleet Foxes. Curated by Father Giulio Neroni (who also produced an album called Alma Mater, which featured Pope Benedict XVI reading over liturgical music and also figures prominently on the playlist), the set of 11 tracks "is a perfect mix of classical, world and contemporary music," reads the explanation on MySpace. "The genres are very different from each other, but all these artists share the aim to reach the heart of good minded people."

Tupac was an inspirational figure to many, though "Changes" isn't necessarily his most positive tune. (sample lyric: "I see no changes/ Wake up in the morning and I ask myself/ Is life worth living? Should I blast myself?"). Still, it's fascinating to imagine the Pontiff kicking back with a copy of All Eyez on Me or banging his head to the "California Love" video.