Benedict XVI Praises the Value of Music

Proposes Art as a Tool in Educational Emergency

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that music is a valuable tool in the educational process, particularly as the present situation of society requires a renewed commitment to youth.

The Pope said this Thursday after a concert in his honor to celebrate the April 19th fifth anniversary of his election to the See of Peter.

"The study of music has high value in the educational process of the person, inasmuch as it produces positive effects in the individual's development, fostering his harmonious human and spiritual growth," he said. "We know that the formative value of music, in its implications of expressive, creative, relational, social and cultural nature, is commonly recognized."

The musicians providing the entertainment were from the Fiesole Youth Orchestra, which led the Pontiff to reflect on the educational value of music.

Noting "the daily reality that tells us it is not easy to educate," he affirmed that "all the work of education seems to be increasingly arduous and problematic."

"This problematic situation affects both the school as well as the family, as also the various agencies that operate in the formative realm," the Holy Father lamented.

He said "present conditions of society" require an "extraordinary educational commitment."

Traits of the young

"Young people, even if they live in different contexts, have in common a sensitivity in face of the great ideals of life, but they find many difficulties in living them," Benedict XVI reflected. "We cannot ignore their needs and hopes, or the obstacles and threats they meet. They feel the need to approach authentic values such as the centrality of the person, human dignity, peace and justice, tolerance and solidarity. 

"They also seek, at times in confused and contradictory ways, spirituality and transcendence, to find balance and harmony."

In this context, the Pope affirmed that music is "capable of opening minds and hearts to the dimension of the spirit and of leading persons to raise their gaze on High, to open to absolute Goodness and Beauty, which have their ultimate source in God."

"The joy of song and music is also a constant invitation to believers and to all men of good will to commit themselves to give humanity a rich future of hope," he continued. 

And the experience of being in an orchestra also exposes students to the challenges of interacting collectively, the Pope noted. He referred to the "constant practices carried out with patience; the exercise of listening to the other musicians; the commitment not to play 'in solitude,' but to do so in a way that the different 'orchestral colors' -- while maintaining their own characteristics -- are established; the common search for the best expression." And he said that given all these elements, music is a "powerful 'gymnasium,' not only on the artistic and professional plane, but in the overall human profile."

The Holy Father expressed his wish that "the grandeur and beauty of the musical pieces masterfully played tonight may give everyone a new and continual inspiration to tend to ever higher aims in personal and social life."

"Remember me in your prayers," he said in conclusion, "so that on beginning the sixth year of my pontificate, I will always be able to fulfill my ministry as the Lord wills."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-29100?l=english