Yesterday evening, Pope Benedict XVI praised musicians from the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ratisbone Cathedral choir and the Athestis Chorus, who performed a concert in his honor at the Vatican.
He told the musicians, who included members of a choir formerly led by the Pope’s own brother, that they had brought an “experience of something of the vastness of musical creativity which has, indeed, always been nourished by the Christian roots of Europe.”
The Holy Father expressed pride that the Regensberg, Germany-based Ratisbone choir was “led with passion” for thirty years by his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.
He added that "now, under Roland Buchner, it is still in excellent hands."
Thursday night’s musical selection ranged from pieces by Palestrina, Richard Wagner, Mozart, Verdi, Hans Pfitzner, and an arrangement by Georg Ratzinger.
The Pope told the musicians that, “even if Wagner, Pfitzner and Verdi transport us to new dimensions for experiencing reality, the shared foundation of a European spirit formed by Christianity still remains present and effective.”
“In this concert”, he said, “have we been able, once again, to feel how sublime music purifies, uplifts and, in the final analysis, makes us feel the greatness and beauty of God."
In concluding, he expressed hope that "the harmony of music and song, which knows no religious or social barriers, may be a constant invitation for believers and all people of good will to seek together the universal language of love, which makes men capable of building a world of justice and solidarity, of hope and peace."