Sunday, July 5, 2015

Mozart earns pope's imprimatur

Yesterday I was gratified to learn that Pope Benedict XVI shares my taste in music. Benedict said in remarks this weekend that he admires the specific Mozart piece I have admired on this Web log, the "Coronation Mass."

I read it on the Una Voce Buffalo Facebook page, about Benedict's remarks. It is good to hear from Benedict again, you know? I always liked how preoccupied he was with music.

Allow me to quote:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Benedict XVI, emeritus pope and theologian, reflected on Saturday on classical music as an "encounter with the divine," saying listening to Mozart helps him experience "very deeply the Lord's presence."

Benedict's reflections came at a ceremony where he received honorary doctorates from the Pontifical John Paul II University of Krakow and the Krakow Academy of Music for his promotion of respect for the traditions of sacred music in the Church.

Since retiring from the papacy in 2013, Benedict has dedicated his time at the Vatican to prayer, meditation and classical music. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who served as the Vatican's guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy, he used to relax at home by playing his piano, with Mozart pieces a frequent choice.

"It remains indelibly impressed in my memory how, for example, as soon as the first notes resounded from Mozart's 'Coronation Mass,' the heavens practically opened and you experienced, very deeply, the Lord's presence," Benedict, 88, said during his speech at the papal summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo, a hill town near Rome where he had first stayed after resigning, citing age and frailty.

I love how the story says that since retiring, Benedict has dedicated his time to prayer, meditation and classical music. I hope that every once in a while he takes a taste of wine, too! And not just at mass I mean.

I also love another detail in the story: "Bestowing the honors was Krakow Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, who served as St. Pope John Paul II's longtime aide and who was made cardinal by Benedict." I reviewed the book "The Pope's Maestro," by Gilbert Levine. Dziwisz figured big in that book. I feel I know him.

Most of all I love how Pope Benedict singled out for praise the same Mass that I did. Above is a picture of His Holiness at the Castel Gandolfo, reflecting on the greatness of Mozart's "Coronation Mass."

Great minds think alike!

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