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Friday, May 6, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 6 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope attended a concert offered in his honor by the president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio  Napolitano, on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of his pontificate.

  The orchestra and choir of the Opera Theatre of Rome, respectively conducted by Maestro Jesus Lopez Cobos and Maestro Roberto Gabbiani, performed Antonio Vivaldi's "Credo RV 591" and Gioachino Rossini's "Stabat Mater".

  Once finished, the Pope thanked President Napolitano for his "exquisite courtesy" that "again this year wished to give us a moment of musical elevation for the anniversary of the beginning of my pontificate".

  Benedict XVI specifically thanked the directors, the soloists, the Orchestra and the Choir for their "splendid execution of the two works of art" by Vivaldi and Rossini, "two great musicians of whom Italy - which celebrates 150 years of political unification - should feel proud".

  "'I Believe' and 'Amen'", he said, "are the words that begin and end the 'Credo'. ... What does 'I believe' mean?", he asked. Credo "is a word that takes on a much deeper meaning. It confidently affirms the true meaning of the reality that sustains us, that sustains the world. It means embracing this meaning as the solid ground upon which we can stand without fear. It means knowing that the fundament of everything, of our very selves, cannot be made by us but can only be received. And Christian faith doesn't say 'I believe is something' but rather 'I believe in Someone', in God who has revealed himself in Jesus; in Him I perceive the true meaning of the world and this belief implies the entire person who is on a journey toward Him".

  The Holy Father noted that the word "'Amen', which in Hebrew has the same root as the word for 'faith', captures the same concept: confidently placing oneself on a firm foundation, on God".

  Commenting on Rossini's "Stabat Mater", the Pope recalled that "it is a great meditation on the mystery of the death of Jesus and the profound sorrow of Mary. ... Rossini's piety expresses a rich range of feelings in the face of the mysteries of Christ with a very strong emotional tension".

  Benedict XVI ended by expressing the desire that the interpretations of Vivaldi and Rossini "nourish our faith" and asking that his "ministry in the vineyard of the Lord" be kept in everyone's prayers.
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VATICAN CITY, 6 MAY 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father met with the thirty-four recruits of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, accompanied by their parents, who will be sworn in during a ceremony to take place this afternoon.

  Referring to the "infamous Sack of Rome, during which the Swiss Guards valiantly defended the Pope, even giving their lives for him", the pope said that "the memory of that earthly pillage makes us reflect that there exists the threat of an even more dangerous pillage, one that can be called a spiritual attack. In today's social context, many youth run the risk of falling into an progressive impoverishment of the soul because they are chasing after the ideals and perspectives of a superficial life that only seeks to fulfill material needs and demands".

  "Act so that your time in Rome", he continued, "be a propitious time for you to make the most of the innumerable possibilities that this city offers in order to give an ever more solid and profound meaning to your lives. ... Take advantage of the opportunities offered you to widen your cultural, linguistic, and above all spiritual horizons. The time that you will spend in the 'Eternal City' will be an exceptional moment in your lives. Live it with a spirit of sincere fraternity, mutually helping one another to live an exemplary Christian life that corresponds to your faith and your unique mission in the Church".

  Benedict XVI noted that this encounter offered him the "possibility to show the new recruits my profound gratitude for your decision to be, for a period of time, at the disposition of Peter's Successor and to thus contribute to guaranteeing the necessary order and security within Vatican City".

  "May your meaningful presence at the heart of Christianity, where crowds of faithful are constantly arriving to meet Peter's Successor and to visit the tombs of the Apostles", he concluded, "arouse more and more in each of you, the purpose of intensifying the spiritual dimension of your lives, as well as the intention of deepening your Christian faith, joyfully bearing witness to it by the coherent conduct of your lives".
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VATICAN CITY, 6 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received participants in the Ninth International Congress on the Liturgy sponsored by the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Rome's St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, on the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation.

  The Pope recalled that "Blessed John XXIII, recognizing the requests of the liturgical movement that sought to give new impetus and a new spirit to the Church's prayer, shortly before Vatican Council II and during its celebration, asked the faculty of Benedictines on the Aventine Hill to establish a center for study and research to ensure a solid basis for conciliar liturgical reform".

  Referring to the title chosen for the congress: "The Pontifical Liturgical Institute: Between Memory and Prophecy", the Pope said that the "'memory' pertains to the very life of the Institute that has offered its contribution to the Church dedicated to the reception of the Second Vatican Council over fifty years of academic liturgical formation".

  Benedict XVI highlighted that, "with the term 'prophecy', our gaze opens to new horizons. The Liturgy of the Church goes beyond the 'conciliar reform', the objective of which in fact was not mainly to change the rites and texts but rather to renew the mentality and to put the celebration of Christ's paschal mystery at the center of Christian life and pastoral work. Unfortunately the liturgy has perhaps been seen - even by us, pastors and experts - more as an object to reform than a subject capable of renewing Christian life, seeing that "a very close and organic bond exists between the renewal of the liturgy and the renewal of the whole life of the Church".

  "The liturgy, ... lives a proper and constant relationship between sound 'traditio' and legitimate 'progressio', clearly seen by the conciliar constitution Sancrosanctum Concilium at paragraph 23. ... Not infrequently are tradition and progress in awkward opposition. Actually though, the two concepts are interwoven: tradition is a living reality that, in itself, includes the principle of development, of progress".

  The Holy Father concluded, expressing the wish that the "Faculty of Sacred Liturgy continue its service to the Church with renewed enthusiasm, in full fidelity to the rich and valuable liturgical tradition and to the reform desired by Vatican Council II, in accordance with the magisterial directives of the Sancrosanctum Concilium and the pronouncements of the Magisterium".
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VATICAN CITY, 6 MAY 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, in a private audience.
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