VATICAN CITY, OCT. 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI celebrated 60 days in the papacy with 60 minutes of music performed by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.
A deeply moved Pope, who had been archbishop of Munich from 1977-1981, said: “May the harmony of singing and music, which is not hampered by social and religious barriers, represent a constant invitation for believers and all persons of good will to seek together the universal language of love that makes men capable of building a world of justice and solidarity, of hope and peace.”
The Holy Father continued, speaking in German and Italian: “You have made us experience something of the grandeur of musical creativity that, in a word, has always been nourished by the Christian roots of Europe.
“Also in this concert, once again, we have been able to experience how music of high level purifies and uplifts us, in a word, it makes us feel the grandeur and beauty of God.”
The orchestra, directed by Christian Thielman, performed seven pieces of sacred music, as well as a final homage.
Two choirs also performed: the Ratisbone Cathedral Choir, and the Athestis Chorus, the oldest in the world.
Some 6,000 people attended the concert, held in Paul VI Hall, including many bishops participating in the Synod on the Eucharist.
Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, 81, the Pope’s brother, who was director of the Ratisbone Cathedral Choir for 30 years, was also present.
The priest composed the second piece of the concert, the “Sanctus” of the Holy Year Mass.
Other works performed included Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus” and Verdi’s “Te Deum da Quatro Pezzi Sacri.”