In what can only be described as a rather bizarre union, it is reported that there have been secret discussions between the Roman Catholic Church and Michael Jackson to put the prayers of Pope John Paul II to music.
Given the fact that both the church and Jackson have had a number of unsavoury allegations about child molestation lobbed at them, I would have thought that this union was rather unwise.
Pope John Paul, who died in April 2005, wrote 24 religious prayers and chants which the Church want to set to music.
Jackson is thought of as being the man for the job, because of his worldwide celebrity status.
Father Giuseppe Moscati of the Millennium Music Society, which specialises in church music and organises musical events at the Vatican, confirmed the details.
Fr Moscati said:
"We have the rights for the 24 prayers written by Pope John Paul.
We had hoped the fact that we have been in contact with Michael Jackson would remain a secret. But sadly it has leaked out ahead of time. We are in discussions and trying to sort it out."
Fr Moscati, and indeed the Church, are being rather naive in thinking that something like this would remain secret. There is every incentive for many people, including Jackson himself, to leak the news.
Fr Moscati, speaking of Jackson's child molestation trial, said:
"He was cleared and found not guilty by a jury.
Michael Jackson is very interested in this project - we shall see what happens."
Jackson had secretly flown to Venice to sign a contract. Unfortunately, news of his arrival leaked and so he fled the city and was thought to be on his way back to the United States.
A source in Venice said:
"We were all ready to put the deal to Michael Jackson but he was scared off when the news leaked out. As soon as he knew everyone was waiting for him and the project had been found out he disappeared. We don't know where he is now."
Needless to say, this "disappearance" will ensure that the story remains in the media longer than it may have otherwise done.
There is, after all, no such thing as bad publicity!