Vatican City, Nov 21, 2009 / 02:59 pm (CNA).- Today Pope Benedict XVI extended a warm personal welcome to artists from all over the world who met with him in a private audience hosted at the Sistine Chapel. In a moving address he challenged the artists, as "custodians of beauty," to be "heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity."
Artists from many countries, who represented the gamut of artistic categories including architecture, sculpture, music, dance and film, met with the Holy Father this morning in the Sistine Chapel just off St. Peter's square. Around 250 artists, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, responded to the Holy See's invitation to all professionals in the arts to take part in the event.
The Pope read a moving letter to the group in which he invited the artists to "friendship, dialogue, and cooperation" with the church. Profusely citing a wide variety of artists' interpretations of beauty throughout history and also quoting the particularly art-conscious Popes Paul VI and John Paul II numerous times, Pope Benedict illustrated a simple message very clearly: with their vision and skill, artists have a unique ability to use their vocations to promote beauty in the world, which is a gift from God.
See also from MSNBC, "Pope tells artists beauty can be a path to God."