I just had to translate this interview with Andrea Bocelli for the readers of Vultus Christi:
Maestro, we are in Advent, a Marian time par excellence. . .
“Of Mary we can never have too much. She is an inexhaustible wellspring of holiness and of sweetness, and even music has always known how to venerate and honour her wisely. Take, for example, the Ave Maria of Schubert, so used and, I agree, abused: it began originally as a pagan composition, inasmuch as the author did not conceive of it in a religious key, but its beauty, which goes together with the beauty of the liturgy, lovingly transported it into the churches of the word. But, thank God, in general, nearly all the greats of music have never had too much of the Madonna, and thus, so many musical versions of the Ave Maria were born. I ask myself then, what is the meaning of this abundant and glorious Marian presence in music?
Please, Bocelli, tell us this yourself.
“It is that even the art of music has bowed before the beauty of Mary, before the All-Holy, before who helps and consoles in difficulty. We are her children and she loves us.”
I don’t know what to say. You are really fervent when it comes to Mary.
“We all are. Mary is the obligatory itinerary to arrive at the Father. And then, she is our heavenly Mother. For example, you, when you are in trouble, do you not turn to your mother? Or if your father reproves you, do you not take refuge with your Mamma to be consoled and understood? Mary is the heavenly version of our earthly Mamma: she is consoler and mediatrix.
Traveling all over the world for your concerts, do you find the same love for the Madonna among diverse peoples?
“Certainly. For example, in Latin America and in Mexico, I was able to see that for the faithful Mary is truly a Mamma. And then, I think of Lourdes, which is a temple of consolation for the body and for the soul, and of Medjugorie. . .”
Let’s talk about Medjugorie: the official Church does not seem convinced of the goodness of the apparitions.
“Here, in fact, the discourse becomes complex. It is true, the Catholic Church, in her infinite wisdom and with great prudence, has suspended judgment on the apparitions of Medjougorie. As a Catholic I hold the position of the ecclesiastical authority to be legitimate and reasonable, also because at one time many were feeding the sorry phenomenom of miraculism. But, all the same . . .”
Go on please.
“I believe in the apparitions of Medjugorie. My idea is based on Sacred Scripture: where two or more persons are united in the name of God, there is Christ. It is enough to consider the impressive number of conversions recorded in that little country place to make one believe in Medjugorie. But I respect the position of the Church because, I repeat, it is the fruit of wisdom.”
About the Church: in Italy she seems ever more defamed, impeded, attacked.
“Not only in Italy. Secularism is henceforth a constant in the whole world. In part, this is caused by true phenomena of diabolical possession, by the snares of Satan, the great liar, who never tires of plotting against God; and sometimes the Church, as the Pope has said, is made up of saints but also of sinners. One needn’t look far for the problems.”
What are you saying?
The quasi-totality of priests fulfill their pastoral duty well. But because of the fault of a few who allow themselves to be caught up in the feverish chase after power or a frenetic ambition or in other culpable behaviour, the Church is too often defamed. In this way the healthy suffer because of a few who are sick.”
Maestro Bocelli, what do you think of the Pontificate of Benedict XVI?
“Every good thing possible. And too, the Pope is a lover of music, of music that is good and noble.”
Have you read his two Encyclicals?
I was very struck by the first one, the one on Love: I found it really splendid. Because of my commitments, I have not yet succeeded in reading the second, the one on Hope, but I hope to do so before Christmas. And on that note, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you. And to your readers a big affectionate greeting from Andrea Bocelli.”