Via Concert, Pope Sent Message to Beijing

Spokesman Says Event Showed Church's Desire to Serve

VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2008.- A performance of Mozart by Chinese musicians at the Vatican last week enabled Benedict XVI to express again the Church's openness to dialogue with the Asian nation, says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, affirmed this on the most recent edition of Vatican Television's "Octava Dies."

The Philharmonic Orchestra of China and the Choir of the Shanghai Opera House interpreted Mozart's Requiem in Paul VI Hall on Wednesday.

This gesture, Father Lombardi said, "effectively demonstrates [...] the Catholic Church's openness to dialogue and her limitless desire to be of spiritual service."

Father Lombardi recalled how the Holy Father spoke of Paul VI Hall as "a window opening onto the world, a place where people from all over the world meet, each with his or her own personal history and culture, each welcomed with esteem and affection."

In that context, the Pope "welcomed the whole Chinese people," the Jesuit noted.

And, Father Lombardi recalled, the Holy Father wished them well in their preparations of the Olympic Games, an event he said is "of great importance for the entire human family."

"As we prepare for the day of prayer for the Church in China on May 24, established by the Pope in his famous letter of last year," Father Lombardi concluded, "we look with confidence toward the pursuit of a long path of dialogue between the Church, the Chinese people and its leaders."


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