VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2008 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present a new album of songs inspired by the poetry of John Paul II – Karol Wojtyla. The songs on the album – which is entitled “Amore infinito” (Infinite Love) and has been produced by “Deutsche Grammophon” – were recorded by Placido Domingo.
Participating in today’s press conference were Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Placido Domingo; Msgr. Giuseppe A. Scotti, president of the management board of the Vatican Publishing House; Michael Lang, president of “Deutsche Grammophon”; Fernando Marin, president of “Tredici S.p.A.”, and Adrian Berwick, executive producer of the “Amore infinito” project.
Bishop Crepaldi indicated that “this unique initiative brings together two art forms, poetry and music which, brilliantly combined, have produced an album entitled ‘Amore infinito’”.
“Listening to these songs, so magnificently interpreted by Placido Domingo and the London Symphony Orchestra, brings back the memory of John Paul II and of an entire life, frequently marked by dramatic episodes, lived with a passion for God and for man. What is the secret of this ‘Wojtylian’ poetic, which he translated into so many poetical texts?” asked the bishop. “For John Paul II everything begins with God’s ‘yes’ to man, everything arises from God’s plan of ‘infinite love’. God’s ‘yes’ to man means ‘yes’ to his dignity, to his authentic needs. It means ‘yes’ to the world … and to everything that is beautiful, good and just in life”.
The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace went on to highlight how, “with His ‘yes’, it is as if God takes man by the hand and raises him above all other creatures. He assigns him an eternal destiny. The light of God’s ‘yes’ to man illuminates all of existence, it gives us a better understanding of who man is and what is his destiny. It also gives us a better understanding of the authentic value of relations among men. Referring to our shared status of ‘children’ and of ‘brothers’ helps the ‘grammar’ of human relations, conforming them to the dignity of human beings and their true good.
“God’s original ‘yes’”, he added, “tells us that He calls man because He loves him, He calls him sacrificing Himself and this is something unheard of among religions, save for Christianity. At the root of Christianity there is not a ‘yes’ of man to God, but the opposite”.
Bishop Crepaldi concluded by noting that the texts of the songs “cover many subjects: family affections, work, war, homeland, etc, but all of them”, he said, “are inspired by God’s ‘yes’ to man, by the Infinite Love of God”.
Msgr. Scotti then explained that the “Amore infinito” album “draws respectfully from the words of Karol Wojtyla’s poetry to exalt them and make them flow through music and song. … Yet”, he noted, “at the core is an encounter. The encounter of Placido Domingo with a man, a believer, a Pope, who showed him a certain outlook on life. Here, hence, is an artist, a person accustomed to scrutinising men and things through the spectrum of art, who could not but be attracted and fascinated by a great man, a Pope, who showed his a point of view that was true and worthy of attention”.
“In echoing Karol Wojtyla, Placido Domingo can tell us all, with the overwhelming power … of his song, that ‘the world is full of hidden powers which courageously I identify and name’, … that ‘this love has explained all things, this love is everything for me’ and then, fearlessly, to affirm with the same pride as John Paul II that ‘Jesus came into the world to show us all the love of God’.
“In a certain sense”, Msgr. Scotti added, “Placido Domingo has achieved in this album what Benedict XVI wrote on 24 November for the 13th public session of the Pontifical Academies: ‘we must regain an understanding of the intimate link binding the search for beauty to the search for truth and goodness’”.
“This work by Placido Domingo makes us aware that we have not yet fully delved into the rich human, cultural and spiritual heritage which Wojtyla showed us glimpses of. This heritage can help us to better understand … that the world and history are entrusted to us, and that it is up to us, now, to become architects and builders of a future in which mankind and nature are reconciled with one another and with God, as has been made even more clear by the dramatic events we are seeing over these days”. (183)