VATICAN CITY, MARCH 21, 2005 ( John Paul II has called for the renewal of the language of music and art in general to transmit values.

"Music, like all artistic language, brings man closer to God," the Pope said in a message today to 4,000 participants from 51 countries in the UNIV-2005 meeting.

"But, at the same time, art can sometimes transmit a conception of man, love and happiness that does not correspond to the truth of God's plan," the Holy Father warned.

"Therefore, it is necessary to engage in healthy discernment," so as not to believe "in fallacious illusions and ephemeral fashions that not infrequently leave a tragic spiritual void," he stated in his message.

"It is also up to you, dear young people, to renew the languages of art and culture," exhorted the Pope. "Commit yourselves, therefore, to cultivate in yourselves the courage not to accept behavior and amusements characterized by excesses and noise."

The Pope's message was read on his behalf, in Paul VI Hall, by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Vatican Secretariat of State, to participants from some 230 universities. They were attending the 38th edition of UNIV, an international university gathering organized by the Institute for University Cooperation.

Among those present was Bishop Javier Echevarría, prelate of Opus Dei.

In previous years, the Holy Father never missed the opportunity to attend this university meeting, but this year his convalescence impeded it. The young people sang songs and expressed their affection for the Pope enthusiastically.

One of the highlights of the event was the projection on large screens of John Paul II's meeting with the participants of UNIV 1985, the year in which World Youth Day began.

This year's theme of the meeting of university students was: "Project Culture: The Language of Music." The meetings have taken place every year in Rome since 1968, and were inspired by St. Josemaría Escrivá, founder of the Opus Dei.

"The vocation of the lay faithful, you well know, consists in tending toward holiness, by animating temporal realities in a Christian way," continued reading Archbishop Sandri.

The Pontiff illustrated this proposal by quoting a reflection of Monsignor Escrivá: "It is very much our mission to transform the prose of this life into poetry, into heroic verse.'"