Pavarotti Honored a Divine Gift, Says Pontiff

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MODENA, Italy, SEPT. 9, 2007, ( Luciano Pavarotti "honored the divine gift of music," said Benedict XVI in a message read at the funeral Mass of the Italian tenor in Modena's cathedral.

The telegram, signed in the Pope's name by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state, was read at the beginning of the funeral Mass celebrated Saturday by Archbishop Benito Cocchi of Modena.

The message said: "Apprised of the sad news of the passing of the tenor Luciano Pavarotti the Pontiff expresses sentiments of grief over the death of the great artist who, with his extraordinary interpretive talent, honored the divine gift of music.

"In entrusting his soul to the mercy of God, the Holy Father asks, for his family and those who held him dear, the support of Christian hope which alone can relieve the sorrow for the grave loss and he gives to you and those participating in the funeral rites the comforting apostolic blessing."