10/01/1998 AT 12:00 AM EDT
Pope John Paul II will symbolically hold hands with rocker Lou Reed at a special -- and highly uncharacteristic -- outdoor Vatican charity concert scheduled to be held May 1. The Great Jubilee Concert for a Debt-Free World will feature a speech from the pontiff and songs by Reed, as well as the Eurythmics and Andrea Bocelli, reports the New York Post. As a member of the hard-living '70s rock group Velvet Underground, Reed, now 58, sang of sex and drugs, including heroin. He's now cleaned up his act -- which had better be squeaky clean by May. "In the church," said a New York spokesman for the Vatican, Howard Rubenstein, "there is a spirit of forgiveness." The May 1 event is expected to draw 100,000 concertgoers.