Be guardians of beauty in the world, pope tells Christmas concert artists

December 22, 2020

Pope Francis leads an audience with performers of the Vatican’s annual Christmas concert Dec. 12, 2020. Unlike past years, when the concert was held in the Paul VI audience hall, the 2020 Christmas concert was recorded at the Auditorium Conciliazione in Rome and will be broadcast in Italy on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (CNS Photo)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Meeting Dec. 12 with singers, songwriters, musicians and conductors performing at the Vatican’s annual Christmas concert, the pope said that “amid the anxiety provoked by the pandemic, your creativity can be a source of light.”

“In a special way, you are guardians of beauty in our world,” he said. “I thank you for your spirit of solidarity, which is all the more evident in these days.”

The 2020 Christmas concert was recorded at a large music hall down the street from the Vatican and will be broadcasted in Italy on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Among the performers present at the meeting with the pope were Italian singer-songwriter Renato Zero and Scottish pop artist Amy Macdonald.

Proceeds for the concert will aid Scholas Occurrentes and Don Bosco Relief Services in distributing food and masks, as well as provide teaching tools in disadvantaged countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his address, the pope thanked the performers and reflected on “art and its role at this critical moment in our history.”

Artistic creation, he said, touches upon “three movements,” beginning with the senses, which leads to the second movement, that of the heart and soul, which evokes “within us memories, images and emotions.”

“Yet artistic creation does not stop here,” the pope said. “There is a third movement in which the perception and contemplation of beauty generates a sense of hope that can light up our world.”

Those three movements, he explained, also generate empathy and an “ability to understand others,” allowing people to form a bond that “is no longer vague but real and shared.”

“This threefold movement of wonder, personal discovery and sharing produces a feeling of peace, which — as the example of St. Francis shows — frees us from the desire to dominate others, makes us sensitive to their difficulties, and prompts us to live in harmony with all. A harmony deeply associated with beauty and goodness,” he said.

Recalling the words of St. John Paul II, Pope Francis reminded the musicians that within their performances, there is “a kind of divine spark which is the artistic vocation” and that they are called “not to waste this talent but to develop it, in order to put it at the service of their neighbor and of humanity as a whole.”

“Yours is a lofty and demanding calling, one that requires ‘pure and dispassionate hands’ capable of transmitting truth and beauty,” the pope said.

“For these instill joy in human hearts and are, in fact, ‘a precious fruit that endures through time, unites generations and makes them share in a sense of wonder.’” †