Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items:
 News Briefs
 Word To Life
 More News:
 Special Section:
 Vatican II at 40
 John Paul II
 Election 2004
 Charter update
 John Jay study
 Other Items:
 Client Area
 Did You Know...

 The whole CNS
 public Web site
 headlines, briefs
 stories, etc,
 represents less
 than one percent
 of the daily news

 Get all the news!

 If you would like
 more information
 about the
 Catholic News
 Service daily
 news report,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 (202) 541-3250


 This material
 may not
 be published,
 rewritten or
 (c) 2006
 Catholic News
 Conference of
 Catholic Bishops.

 CNS Story:

VATICAN-CONCERT Sep-1-2006 (270 words) With photo. xxxi

Vatican to discontinue annual Christmas concert

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After a 13-year run, the annual Christmas concert at the Vatican will not be continued.

The Vatican did not say who made the decision, which was reported by Italian media Aug. 31. In recent years some church officials have viewed the concert as a distraction because of minor controversies involving performers.

Last year, church officials dropped Brazilian pop singer Daniela Mercury because they feared she would use the concert to promote the use of condoms as an anti-AIDS measure. Those who did perform were disappointed that Pope Benedict XVI did not make time for the traditional papal audience with the artists.

The annual event was taped in the Vatican audience hall in early December and rebroadcast on Christmas Eve. It always drew a sellout crowd of about 6,000 people, including many cardinals, bishops and Vatican officials.

The concert was an initiative of the Diocese of Rome, which used proceeds to help build new churches in the city. Pope John Paul II made it a point to greet the artists, lending publicity to the event.

Over the years, Pope John Paul chatted with artists like Jose Feliciano, Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, Gloria Gaynor and the late John Denver. B.B. King, who performed "Merry Christmas Baby," gave the pontiff one of his electric guitars.

In 2003, U.S. pop singer Lauryn Hill stunned the concert audience when she asked church leaders to "repent" and spoke of the pain of those abused by priests. Vatican Radio termed the outburst a "sour note" to an otherwise enjoyable show.


Copyright (c) 2006 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250