Friday, 28 September 2007

In Memory of Paul VI


VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says his predecessor Pope Paul VI was prophetic because he showed the inherent contradiction in "progress" that lacks ethical and spiritual foundations.

The German Pope said this at a concert held Wednesday in honor of Paul VI on the 110th anniversary of his birth, Sept. 26, 1897.

At the end of the performance, Benedict XVI greeted those in attendance and then spoke of the "spirit of evangelical wisdom" with which Paul VI guided the Church during and after the Second Vatican Council.

The German Pontiff continued: "With prophetic intuition, he understood the hopes and fears of the men and women of that time, seeking to highlight the positive aspects and illuminate them with the light of truth and of the love of Christ.

"The love he fostered for humanity with its achievements, the marvelous discoveries, the advantages and rewards of technology and science, did not stop him from bringing to light the contradictions, errors and risks of scientific and technological progress detached from a strong reference to ethical and spiritual values."

The Holy Father said his predecessor was "prudent and courageous in guiding the Church with realism and evangelical optimism, fueled by indomitable faith."

He said that Paul VI "hoped for the coming of the 'civilization of love,' convinced that evangelical charity constitutes the indispensable element for building an authentic universal brotherhood."

“Only Christ, true God and true man, can convert the human soul and render it capable of contributing to the realization of a just and supportive society," Benedict XVI added. "Let us pray that his example and his teachings will be an encouragement and stimulus for us to love Christ and the Church more and more, enlivened by that indomitable hope that sustained Paul VI until his death."

The concert was held by the Festival Pianistico Internazionale Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, and included musical selections by Vivaldi, Bach and Mozart. Soloists included Marco Rizzi on the violin and Alexander Romanovsky on the piano.

Agostino Orizio, 85, directed the orchestra. He was a student of Michelangeli. He is also a native of Brescia, as were both Michelangeli and Paul VI, to whom he is linked by personal friendship.

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