Concert at Vatican Will Go Far Beyond Music

It Expresses a Deeper Truth About Religion, Says Vatican Official

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 16, 2004 ( The concert for reconciliation between Christians, Jews and Muslims “is the expression of a truth that the Pope has been repeating for years,” says a Vatican official.

Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, elaborated on the message behind the “Concert of Reconciliation” scheduled for Saturday in Paul VI Hall.

In an interview today with Vatican Radio, he talked about a particular point John Paul II has been reiterating. “That is, that religion must always be — if it is to be faithful to itself — the promotion of goodness, understanding and harmony between peoples in the whole world,” Bishop Farrell said.

“It is necessary, therefore, that religions, and especially religious leaders, have very clear the fundamental fact that God always wants justice,” he said. “He always wants to defend the dignity of the person.”

“Anything that deviates from this is an offense to religion, an offense to persons, and an offense to God himself,” the bishop added.

U.S. maestro Gilbert Levine will conduct the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in John Harbison’s new work “Abraham” — the father in faith of Jews, Christians and Muslims. Levine was conductor for many years of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Krakow, where he met Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope.

Bishop Farrell said that Harbison’s musical composition “speaks to us of faith, of a response to God that is made present, who asks Abraham to walk on the path of personal honesty, to trust in the Lord. Abraham is the one who, because of his fidelity, became the friend of God.”

The pontifical council secretary thanked the Knights of Columbus for their financial support, which makes the concert possible, and for the “enthusiasm with which they supported the initiative.”

The concert will be transmitted abroad, thanks to the help of Italian State Radio and Television, the bishop continued.

In addition to the chief rabbis of Israel, by the leader of the Rome mosque and the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See will attend the concert.

The concert will be performed by musicians of the Philharmonic Orchestras of London; Krakow, Poland; Ankara, Turkey; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The event was organized by the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and the pontifical councils for Promoting Christian Unity and for Interreligious Dialogue.

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