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Culture: Music, the arts, life ...

Many, many thanks to all those who've so generously given their music for Totus2us' podcasts: Aaron Hostetter aka Zealous, Amanda Vernon, Anna Johnstone, Baliva, Benedict Nichols, Burke Ingraffia, Cherrie Anderson and Ooberfüse, Crossbeam, David Bevan, Neil Wright and the Holy Redeemer Choir, Edwin Fawcett, Emmaus, E Tizz, Jahaziel, Jesús Cabello, Joe Zambon, London Oratory School Schola, Louise Orfila, Mike Mangione, Olen Cesari, Paul J. Kim, Fr Stan Fortuna CFR. More on all these musicians here ...

Papa Benedetto: 'I join all those marching for life from afar, & pray that political leaders will protect the unborn & promote a culture of life.'
'Many false idols are held up today. For Christians to be faithful, they can't be afraid to go against the current.'
'May we defend the right of conscientious objection of individuals & institutions, promoting freedom & respect for all.'
- @Pontifex tweets Jan 2013.

"I turn to you, the artists of the world,

to assure you of my esteem & to help consolidate a more constructive partnership between art & the Church. Mine is an invitation to rediscover the depth of the spiritual & religious dimension which has been typical of art in its noblest forms in every age. It is with this in mind that I appeal to you, artists of the written & spoken word, of the theatre & music, of the plastic arts & the most recent technologies in the field of communication. I appeal especially to you, Christian artists: I wish to remind each of you that, beyond functional considerations, the close alliance that has always existed between the Gospel & art means that you are invited to use your creative intuition to enter into the heart of the mystery of the Incarnate God & at the same time into the mystery of man.

Human beings, in a certain sense, are unknown to themselves. Jesus Christ not only reveals God, but “fully reveals man to man”. In Christ, God has reconciled the world to himself. All believers are called to bear witness to this; but it is up to you, men & women who have given your lives to art, to declare with all the wealth of your ingenuity that in Christ the world is redeemed: the human person is redeemed, the human body is redeemed, & the whole creation which, according to Saint Paul, “awaits impatiently the revelation of the children of God”, is redeemed. The creation awaits the revelation of the children of God also through art & in art. This is your task. Humanity in every age, & even today, looks to works of art to shed light upon its path & its destiny." - Blessed John Paul IILetter to Artists (1999)

Wherever there is truth, beauty must be born

Papa Benedict XVI "You know that I place great emphasis on the relationship between faith and reason, that faith, and Christian faith, has its identity only in openness to reason and that reason becomes itself if it transcends itself towards faith. But equally important is the relationship between faith and art because truth, the aim or goal of reason, is expressed in beauty and becomes itself in beauty, proves itself as truth. Therefore, wherever there is truth, beauty must be born, wherever the human being is realized in a correct and good way, he expresses himself in beauty. The relationship between truth and beauty is inseparable and therefore we need beauty. In the Church, from the beginning, and also in the great modesty and poverty of the time of persecutions, art, painting, the expression of God’s salvation in images of the world, singing, and then building too, all this is constitutive for the Church and remains constitutive for ever. Thus the Church was the mother of the arts for centuries and centuries: the great treasure of Western art — its music, architecture and painting — was born from faith within the Church. Today there is a certain “dissent”, but this does harm to both art and faith: art which loses the root of transcendence is no longer towards God, is an art halved, it loses its living source; and a faith which has art only in the past is no longer faith in the present; and today it must be expressed anew as truth, which is always present. So the dialogue or encounter, I would say both, between art and faith is inscribed in the deepest essence of faith; we must do everything so that today too faith is expressed in authentic art, like Gaudí’s, in continuity and in novelty, and so that art does not lose contact with the faith." (on way to Barcelona, November 2010)


Second Vatican Council II Closing Message to Artists (read by read Leo Cardinal Suenens) on Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 8th December 1965:

We now address you, artists, who are taken up with beauty and work for it: poets and literary men, painters, sculptors, architects, musicians, men devoted to the theater and the cinema. To all of you, the Church of the council declares to you through our voice: if you are friends of genuine art, you are our friends.

The Church has long since joined in alliance with you. You have built and adorned her temples, celebrated her dogmas, enriched her liturgy You have aided her in translating her divine message in the language of forms and figures, making the invisible world palpable. Today, as yesterday, the Church needs you and turns to you. She tells you through our voice: Do not allow an alliance as fruitful as this to be broken. Do not refuse to put your talents at the service of divine truth. Do not close your mind to the breath of the Holy Spirit.

This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. It is beauty, like truth, which brings joy to the heart of man and is that precious fruit which resists the year and tear of time, which unites generations and makes them share things in admiration. And all of this is through your hands. May these hands be pure and disinterested. Remember that you are the guardians of beauty in the world. May that suffice to free you from tastes which are passing and have no genuine value, to free you from the search after strange or unbecoming expressions. Be always and everywhere worthy of your ideals and you will be worthy of the Church which, by our voice, addresses to you today her message of friendship, salvation, grace and benediction.

Pope Francis on the Environment
in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today I would like to reflect on the issue of the environment, as I have already had an opportunity to do on various occasions. I was also prompted to think about this because of today’s World Environment Day, sponsored by the United Nations, which is launching a pressing appeal for the need to eliminate waste and the destruction of food.

When we talk about the environment, about creation, my thoughts go to the first pages of the Bible, to the Book of Genesis, where it says that God puts men and women on the earth to till it and keep it (cf. 2:15). And these questions occur to me: What does cultivating and preserving the earth mean? Are we truly cultivating and caring for creation? Or are we exploiting and neglecting it? The verb “cultivate” reminds me of the care a farmer takes to ensure that his land will be productive and that his produce will be shared.

What great attention, enthusiasm and dedication! Cultivating and caring for creation is an instruction of God which he gave not only at the beginning of history, but has also given to each one of us; it is part of his plan; it means making the world increase with responsibility, transforming it so that it may be a garden, an inhabitable place for us all. Moreover on various occasions Benedict XVI has recalled that this task entrusted to us by God the Creator requires us to grasp the pace and the logic of creation. Instead we are often guided by the pride of dominating, possessing, manipulating and exploiting; we do not “preserve” the earth, we do not respect it, we do not consider it as a freely-given gift to look after.

We are losing our attitude of wonder, of contemplation, of listening to creation and thus we no longer manage to interpret in it what Benedict XVI calls “the rhythm of the love-story between God and man”. Why does this happen? Why do we think and live horizontally, we have drifted away from God, we no longer read his signs.

However “cultivating and caring” do not only entail the relationship between us and the environment, between man and creation. They also concern human relations. The popes have spoken of a human ecology, closely connected with environmental ecology. We are living in a time of crisis; we see it in the environment, but above all we see it in men and women. The human person is in danger: this much is certain — the human person is in danger today, hence the urgent need for human ecology! And the peril is grave, because the cause of the problem is not superficial but deeply rooted. It is not merely a question of economics but of ethics and anthropology. The Church has frequently stressed this; and many are saying: yes, it is right, it is true... but the system continues unchanged since what dominates are the dynamics of an economy and a finance that are lacking in ethics. It is no longer man who commands, but money, money, cash commands. And God our Father gave us the task of protecting the earth — not for money, but for ourselves: for men and women. We have this task! Nevertheless men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the “culture of waste”. If a computer breaks it is a tragedy, but poverty, the needs and dramas of so many people end up being considered normal. If on a winter's night, here on the Via Ottaviano — for example — someone dies, that is not news. If there are children in so many parts of the world who have nothing to eat, that is not news, it seems normal. It cannot be so! And yet these things enter into normality: that some homeless people should freeze to death on the street — this doesn’t make news. On the contrary, when the stock market drops 10 points in some cities, it constitutes a tragedy. Someone who dies is not news, but lowering income by 10 points is a tragedy! In this way people are thrown aside as if they were trash.

This “culture of waste” tends to become a common mentality that infects everyone. Human life, the person, are no longer seen as a primary value to be respected and safeguarded, especially if they are poor or disabled, if they are not yet useful — like the unborn child — or are no longer of any use — like the elderly person. This culture of waste has also made us insensitive to wasting and throwing out excess foodstuffs, which is especially condemnable when, in every part of the world, unfortunately, many people and families suffer hunger and malnutrition. There was a time when our grandparents were very careful not to throw away any left over food. Consumerism has induced us to be accustomed to excess and to the daily waste of food, whose value, which goes far beyond mere financial parameters, we are no longer able to judge correctly.

Let us remember well, however, that whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor, from the hungry! I ask everyone to reflect on the problem of the loss and waste of food, to identify ways and approaches which, by seriously dealing with this problem, convey solidarity and sharing with the underprivileged.

A few days ago, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, we read the account of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish. And the end of this passage is important: “and all ate and were satisfied. And they took up what was left over, twelve baskets of broken pieces (Lk 9:17). Jesus asked the disciples to ensure that nothing was wasted: nothing thrown out! And there is this fact of 12 baskets: why 12? What does it mean? Twelve is the number of the tribes of Israel, it represents symbolically the whole people. And this tells us that when the food was shared fairly, with solidarity, no one was deprived of what he needed, every community could meet the needs of its poorest members. Human and environmental ecology go hand in hand.

I would therefore like us all to make the serious commitment to respect and care for creation, to pay attention to every person, to combat the culture of waste and of throwing out so as to foster a culture of solidarity and encounter. Thank you."


Je salue cordialement les pèlerins francophones, particulièrement les fidèles venus des Antilles, de l’Ile Maurice et de Côte d’Ivoire. Je salue également le groupe d’imams de France engagés dans le dialogue interreligieux. Chers amis, ayons soin de la création, ayons soin de la personne humaine, de sorte que personne autour de nous ne soit privé du nécessaire. Bon pèlerinage à tous !

[Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini di lingua francese, particolarmente i fedeli venuti dalle Antille, dall’Isola Maurizio e dalla Costa d’Avorio. Saluto inoltre il gruppo di imam francesi, impegnati nel dialogo interreligioso. Cari amici, abbiate cura della creazione, prendetevi cura della persona umana, in modo che nessuno, intorno a noi, sia privo del necessario. Buon pellegrinaggio a tutti!]

I offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore and the United States. God bless you all!

[Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini di lingua inglese presenti all’odierna Udienza, specialmente quelli provenienti da Inghilterra, Scozia, Paesi Bassi, Nigeria, Singapore e Stati Uniti. Dio vi benedica tutti!]

Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an alle Pilger deutscher Sprache. Wir alle sind gerufen, die Welt, die Gott geschaffen hat, als schönen Garten zu bebauen und zu hüten, in dem alle Menschen wohnen können. Der Heilige Geist gebe uns Einsicht und gute Ausdauer, dass wir Werkzeuge der Liebe Gottes auf dieser Erde werden. Ich wünsche euch allen einen guten Aufenthalt in Rom.

[Rivolgo un cordiale saluto ai pellegrini di lingua tedesca. Noi tutti siamo chiamati a coltivare e custodire il mondo che Dio ha creato come un bel giardino in cui ciascuno può abitare. Lo Spirito Santo ci dia conoscenza e perseveranza, affinché diventiamo strumenti dell’amore di Dio sulla terra. Vi auguro un buon soggiorno qui a Roma.]

Saludo a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos provenientes de España, Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina, México y los demás países latinoamericanos. Invito a todos a respetar y cuidar la creación, a prestar atención y cuidado a toda persona, a contrarrestar “la cultura del descarte” y del desecho para promover una cultura de la solidaridad y del encuentro. Muchas gracias.

Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, sede bem-vindos! Uma saudação particular aos fiéis diocesanos de Curitiba com o seu Pastor, Dom Moacyr Viti, encorajando-vos a todos a apostar em ideais grandes de serviço, que engrandecem o coração e tornam fecundos os vossos talentos. De bom grado abençoo a vós e aos vossos entes queridos.

[Carissimi pellegrini di lingua portoghese, benvenuti! Rivolgo un saluto particolare ai fedeli diocesani di Curitiba con il loro Pastore, Monsignor Moacyr Vitti, incoraggiandovi tutti a scommettere sui grandi ideali di servizio, che allargano il cuore e rendono fecondi i vostri talenti. Volentieri benedico voi e i vostri cari!]

كلمات الأب الأقدس للأشخاص الناطقين باللغة العربية:

الأخوات والإخوة الأحباء الناطقون باللغة العربية: لا يجب أن نتعود على مآسي الفقر، وعلى موت بعض الأشخاص من البرد فوق الطروقات، لأنهم بلا مأوى، أو على رؤية بعض الأطفال بدون تعليم، أو رعاية طبية. لنتذكر جيدا، أن الطعام الذي يتم إهداره، هو مثل طعام منهوب من مائدة الفقير والجائع! دعونا نلتزم جميعا بالعمل على احترام وحماية الخليقة، وعلى مقاومة ثقافة الإهدار والإقصاء، ودعم ثقافة التضامن واللقاء. وأمنح لكم جميعا البركة الرسولية!

[Cari fratelli e sorelle di lingua araba: non abituiamoci alla tragedia della povertà, ai drammi di tante persone senzatetto che muoiono sulle strade, o a vedere tanti bambini senza educazione o assistenza medica. Ricordiamo che il cibo che buttiamo via è come se lo avessimo rubato dalla mensa del povero e di chi ha fame! Impegniamoci tutti a rispettare e custodire il creato e a contrastare la cultura dello spreco e dello scarto, per promuovere una cultura della solidarietà e dell’incontro. A tutti imparto la Benedizione Apostolica!]

Serdecznie witam obecnych tu Polaków. W sposób szczególny pozdrawiam kleryków i neoprezbiterów. Kochani, dziękujcie Chrystusowi za dar waszego powołania i pielęgnujcie je w świetle i mocy Ducha Świętego, abyście zawsze byli gorliwymi szafarzami łaski Bożej i prawdziwymi przewodnikami na drogach świętości. Was drodzy polscy pielgrzymi, i wszystkich Polaków proszę: dziękujcie Bogu za waszych kapłanów i wspierajcie ich modlitwą, życzliwością i dobrą radą. Niech Pan wam błogosławi!

[Do un cordiale benvenuto ai polacchi qui presenti. In modo particolare saluto i seminaristi e i presbiteri novelli. Carissimi, ringraziate Cristo per il dono della vostra vocazione e coltivatela nella luce e nella potenza dello Spirito Santo, affinché siate sempre zelanti ministri della grazia di Dio e vere guide sui sentieri della santità. Invito voi, cari pellegrini, e tutti i polacchi a ringraziare Dio per i vostri sacerdoti e a sostenerli con la preghiera, con la benevolenza e con buon consiglio. Dio vi benedica!]

* * *

Un caloroso benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. In particolare saluto i fedeli delle diocesi di Aversa, Macerata e Matera, con i Vescovi Mons. Spinillo, Mons. Giuliodori e Mons. Ligorio, venuti alla Sede di Pietro per il pellegrinaggio in occasione dell’Anno della fede; saluto i numerosi gruppi parrocchiali, le associazioni, la rappresentanza dei lavoratori di ditte operanti nel Veneto con il Patriarca di Venezia, Mons. Moraglia, e le scolaresche, in particolare i giovani cresimati della diocesi di Lamezia Terme e gli universitari di Perugia, accompagnati dai loro Pastori, Mons. Cantafora e Mons. Bassetti. A tutti auguro che la visita alle Tombe degli Apostoli serva ad irrobustire la fede e la testimonianza cristiana!

Infine, un pensiero affettuoso ai giovani, ai malati e agli sposi novelli. Il mese di giugno è dedicato dalla pietà popolare alla devozione al Cuore di Gesù. Esso vi insegni, cari giovani, la bellezza dell’amare e del sentirsi amati; sia il Cuore di Cristo, cari ammalati, il vostro sostegno nella prova e nella sofferenza; e sostenga voi, cari sposi novelli, nel nuovo cammino della vita coniugale."

Francis - General Audience, Wednesday, 5 June 2013, St Peter's Square