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Thursday, July 12, 2012


Vatican City, 12 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father welcomed Giorgio Napolitano, president of the Republic of Italy, and his wife, Clio Maria Bittoni to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. They met briefly in the Apostolic Palace's Garden of the Moor, later conversing along the parapets of the gardens.

At 6:00pm the president and the Holy Father attended a concert of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, directed by Maestro Daniel Barenboim, whom they greeted after the performance. Afterwards the president of the Republic and his wife dined with the Pope in his private apartments.


Vatican City, 12 July 2012 (VIS) - "It pleases me to welcome an orchestra such as this one, which was born of the conviction, or better yet, of the experience that music unites persons, over and above any division". With these words the Pope thanked Director Daniel Barenboim and the musicians of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for the concert given in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo to celebrate the feast of St. Benedict, patron of Europe.

"Music", the pontiff continued, "is the harmony of differences ... from the multiplicity of tones of the various instruments a symphony can arise. However, this doesn't happen magically or automatically. It comes only from ... a patient and laborious commitment, which requires time and sacrifices in the effort to listen to one another, avoiding excessive egoism and privileging the best success of the whole".

"In these moments I am thinking of the great symphony of peace between the peoples that is never complete. My generation, like that of Director Barenboim's parents', lived the tragedy of the Second World war and the Shoah. It is highly meaningful that the maestro desired to bring a to life a project like the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: a group in which musicians from Israel, Palestine, and other Arabic nations play; Jewish, Muslim, and Christian persons. The numerous acknowledgements that have been conferred on you and this orchestra demonstrate your professional excellence as well as your ethical and spiritual commitment".

Continuing, the Pope emphasized that the symphonies that were performed, Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth, express two aspects of life: "drama and peace; humanity's struggle against adversity and its enlightening immersion in a bucolic environment... The message I would like to draw from it for today is this: to achieve peace we must dedicate ourselves to dialogue with a personal and communal conversion, patiently seeking possible areas of understanding".

"I wish and pray that each of you", he concluded, "continue sowing the hope for peace in the world through the universal language of music".


Vatican City, 12 July 2012 (VIS) - Members of the press and spokespersons of the European Episcopal conferences met in Cologne, Germany to discuss the relationship between the media and the Catholic Church.

Bishops, priests, and laypersons from across the continent are participating in the various sessions of the meeting, which will take place from 11 to 14 July. It will deal with, among other themes, communication regarding financial issues related to the life of the churches. A special session will be held dedicated to the Year of Faith and the media projects of the various episcopal conferences related to this event.
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