"A Jesuit Must Be Creative" - Pope Francis Reveals His Tastes in Classical Music

By Louise Burton on Sep 20, 2013 11:20 PM EDT

Pope Francis has attracted a great deal of attention for the interview he recently gave to a Jesuit publication, in which he calls for greater tolerance of homosexuality and communicates his vision of a more inclusive church--one that offers "a home for all."

Time magazine called his remarks "spiritual dynamite." And Slate declared the Pope a liberal saying, "He'll pull the church to the left, not just on sexuality, but on every issue that pits tradition against freedom or progress."

During the interview the Pope also revealed his tastes in music, art and literature, confirming earlier reports that he is an opera fan.

Of course, religious music is on the pope's list: Bach's St. Matthew Passion, Mozart's 'Et incarnatus est' from the Mass in C minor. But the Pope also loves Wagner, and talks about his favorite performances: "The performance of Wagner's Ring by Furtwängler at La Scala in Milan in 1950 is for me the best. But also the Parsifal by Knappertsbusch in 1962."

And he appreciates Beethoven for being "Promethean"--boldly original and creative.

Every pope lives in close proximity to art, among the paintings and sculpture of the Vatican's vast collection. The pope has his favorites--the Baroque artist Caravaggio, Marc Chagall's White Crucifixion.

Pope Francis revealed that he once taught literature to secondary school students. "I have really loved a diverse array of authors. I love very much Dostoevsky and Hölderlin...I have read The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni, three times, and I have it now on my table because I want to read it again."

The fact that Pope Francis makes time for art, even among all his pressing duties as pontiff, suggests how much he really values it.

At one point the interviewer asks him if creativity is important. Pope Francis responds, "For a Jesuit it is extremely important! A Jesuit must be creative."

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TagsPope Francis, Bach, Mozart, Wagner, The Ring, Furtwängler, La Scala, Parsifal, Knappertsbusch, Beethoven, Caravaggio, Marc Chagall, Dostoevsky, Hölderlin, Alessandro Manzoni

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