Ludmila Ulitskaya and other leading artists from around the world met Benedict XVI on November 21, 2009


Photo:Osservatore Romano/Associated Press

POPE Benedict XVI has invited artists from around the world to a rare meeting at the Sistine Chapel in November to revive links between art and religion. It will be the first such meeting since Pope Paul VI 45 years ago met artists at the chapel famous for its frescoes painted by Michelangelo.

Pope Benedict XVI met with more than 250 artists from around the world on Saturday to foster dialogue between the Catholic Church and the arts.

The Pope addressed his guests in the Sistine Chapel in Rome to thank them for their work, and tell them that the Catholic Church needs their friendship and collaboration to promote the word of God.

"Through your art, you yourselves are to be heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity,'' he said.

But he warned them to guard against "seductive but hypocritical'' beauty that creates "indecency, transgression or gratuitous provocation.''

More than 500 leading arts figures — visual artists, writers, actors and directors and musicians — were invited to meet the Pope. Those who accepted included F. Murray Abraham, the U.S. actor who won an Oscar for best actor in 1985 for his role as Salieri in the Mozart film, Amadeus, and opera star Andrea Bocelli.

The visit took place a decade after Pope John Paul II's 1999 Letter to Artists and nearly a half-century since Pope Paul VI met with artists from around the world in 1964.

Source: CBC News

To learn more details on the meeting, see