The Holy Father emphasized the value of music to the education of new generations after a concert given by a youth orchestra to commemorate the completion of his fifth year as Pontiff. According to the Pope, music "can open hearts and minds to the spiritual dimension" and contribute to a better future for mankind.
As a gift from the Italian President, the Fiesole Youth Orchestra played for Pope Benedict and thousands of others during the Thursday evening concert at the Vatican.
Recognizing the work of the Fiesole School of Music in the formation of young people through music education, the Holy Father said that in general the study of music has great value in the education of the person.
It "produces positive effects on the development of the individual, favoring harmonious human and spiritual growth," he said.
The experience of a school such as that of Fiesole, the Pope went on, is particularly relevant in the face of today's reality which is marked by the difficulty of educating.
It appears that education is ever more "arduous and problematic," he said, noting that the difficulty of "transmitting basic values of existence and an upright behavior to the new generations" concerns parents, schools and all others in education.
"The current social situation demands an extraordinary commitment to the education of new generations,” he observed.
All young people are sensitive "the great ideals of life" and their needs and expectations cannot be ignored, nor can the obstacles and threats they might encounter, Pope Benedict said.
“They feel the need" for "authentic values such as the centrality of the person, human dignity, peace and justice, tolerance and solidarity. They also seek spirituality and transcendence, often in a confusing and contradictory way, to find harmony and balance."
In this regard, the Holy Father pointed out that "music can open hearts and minds to the spiritual dimension, and leads people to raise up their eyes to Heaven, to open themselves up to the absolute Good and Beauty, which have their ultimate origin in God."
The joy related through song and music, concluded the Pope, are a “constant invitation for believers, and for all men and women of good will, to work so that humankind has a future rich in hope."
Pope Benedict XVI asked for payers, so that "beginning the sixth year of my Pontificate, I may always carry out my ministry as the Lord would wish."