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 CNS Story:

POPE-MUSIC Apr-25-2008 (290 words) xxxi

Pope says music can bring hope to wounded world

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Music can bring hope to a wounded humanity, Pope Benedict XVI said.

At the end of an evening concert held in his honor April 24 to mark the third anniversary of the start of his pontificate, Pope Benedict said there is "a mysterious and deep kinship between music and hope, between song and eternal life."

The musical arts, therefore, have enormous spiritual value and are called to "instill hope in the human spirit so scarred and at times wounded by earthly life," he said.

Milan's Giuseppe Verdi symphony orchestra and chorus performed works by Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven and Luciano Berio in the Vatican's Paul VI hall to a large audience that included the pope's elder brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.

Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano, who sat next to the pope during the performance, offered the concert to the pope as a gift.

Pope Benedict told the audience the joy music and song bring is "a constant invitation to the faithful and people of good will to dedicate themselves to offer humanity a future rich with hope."

Any "authentic art" is just like prayer and never represents escapism from reality, he said.

Rather the arts, like prayer, prompt people to improve the world and cultivate it so that it can bear the fruits of peace and goodness, he said.

Pope Benedict praised Italy's rich cultural and artistic heritage, urging the country to be an example to the rest of the world.

Young people need to learn about "authentic beauty" and have the opportunity to let art "refine their soul and guide them toward the building of a world that is open to spiritual ideals."

END


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