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Orchestra Performance Inspires Pope's Message On Peace
Vatican (radiovaticana): “We must strive to achieve peace, leaving aside violence and weapons, engaging personal and communal conversions, through dialogue, in a patient search for an understanding that is possible”. This according to Pope Benedict XVI is the lesson that we can draw from the “living witness” of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and from the majestic notes of the Fifth and Sixth“We must strive to achieve peace, leaving aside violence and weapons, engaging ourselves in Symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven.
The concert by this unique orchestra of musicians from Israel, Palestine and other Arab nations, began as the sun-set over the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo. It was a special treat for Pope Benedict, on the feast of St. Benedict, organized by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi of the Pontifical Council for Culture with the patronage of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano who was present Wednesday evening, seated alongside the Pope.
As the last notes of the symphony died on the evening air, and Maestro Barenboim bowed before a standing ovation, Pope Benedict addressed those gathered, praising the foresight of the Israeli Maestro, whom together with the late Edward Said – a Palestinian intellectual and accomplished pianist – founded the orchestra to give the children of these divided communities a vehicle to look beyond their differences.
In fact Pope Benedict began by saying that music is above all a “harmony of differences”. It “brings people together, beyond every division”. But – the Pope cautioned - “this does not happen magically or automatically” it requires a “patient, laborious commitment that demands time and sacrifice, in the effort of listening to each other”.
Pope Benedict spoke of “the great symphony of peace between peoples, which is never completely accomplished”, remembering how his generation and that of Maestro Barenboim's parents, “have experienced the tragedies of World War II and the Holocaust”. The Pope concluded by thanking the young men and women of the Orchestra and Maestro Barenboim, for being living witnesses to the fact that peace and understanding – beyond differences and divisions – are possible and must by everyone’s common goal.
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