Pope Marks 5 Years with Young People on His Mind


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(30 Apr 10 - RV) On Thursday Italy's president held a concert for Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate his five years of the pontificate.

At the conclusion of the concert in the Paul VI audience hall, the Holy Father greeted the Italian authorities, the ambassadors and cardinals in attendance, and thanked President Giorgio Napolitano for his gift.

Students from the Fiesole Music School entertained the group with a selection of pieces by Italian composer Sammartini, as well as works by Mozart and Beethoven.

Pope Benedict praised the young performers for their skill, and reflected on the high value of music in the education of the person. He said music produces positive effects on the development of the individual, and fosters harmonious human and spiritual growth.

He said "Therefore, the experience...of the Music School of Fiesole is of particular relevance in the face of an everyday reality that tells us it is not easy to educate. In fact, in today's social context, every effort to educate seems to become increasingly difficult and problematic: parents and teachers often speak about the problems they encounter in transmitting basic values and correct behaviour to new generations. This problematic situation involves both the school and the family, as well as various organisations involved in formation".

Pope Benedict continued "The current social context requires an extraordinary commitment to education in favour of the younger generation. Young people, even if they live in different contexts, have a shared sensitivity for life's high ideals, but encounter many difficulties in living them out. We can not ignore their needs and expectations, even the obstacles and threats they face. They feel the need for true values such as the importance of the individual, human dignity, peace and justice, tolerance and solidarity. They are also looking for spirituality and transcendence, even if at times in confused and contradictory ways, in order to find balance and harmony. In this respect, I would like to observe that music is capable of opening minds and hearts to the spiritual dimension and leads people to raise their gaze to on High, to open themselves to the absolute Good and the Beautiful, whose ultimate source is God".