Pope Benedict XVI at the VMAs

Did you watch the VMAs last month? I bet you didn’t know that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was in attendance at this year’s MTV awards’ show. Well maybe that’s a stretch, he was not physically in attendance, but one of his lessons made an appearance. Hang in there with me, I will explain.

The VMAs never disappointments in delivering out of this world and buzz worthy performances. This year the most intriguing and emotional exhibition came from Vision’s performance of 1-800-273-8255 ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid. See it here…

Every time the song opens and I hear Vision say, “I don’t wanna be alive,” my skin shudders. It is hard to get through the first verse. It feels as though you are traveling in another person’s darkest mile. This song shares an honest experience about recognizing both yours and others’ value and necessity in this world. What a breath of fresh air. It was a performance and song created not to make the self more important, but to make the listener more aware of their own importance.

The performance felt like a 2017 hip hop resurrection of this quote by Pope Benedict XVI.

“Man has within him the breath of God, he is unique. It is most important to see this special creation by God, in order to perceive the uniqueness and value of man and thereby the basis of all human rights. This gives man a reverence for himself and for others. God’s breath is within him. He sees that he is not just a combination of biological building blocks, but a personal conception of God. Man is created with a need for others, so that he may pass beyond his own limits.” – Pope Benedict XVI, then Joseph Ratzinger in God and the World

Pope Benedict XVI at the VMAs @ The Salt Stories

They both desire the listener to realize they have inherent value in their life and to grow in the reverence with which they see their own life and the lives of others. We are each unique and in the mind of God. From this innate value and purpose flows all of our rights. No matter our status, demographics, or life decisions, we are called to live; our life adds value to this world.

Putting aside the silliness of imagining the Pope sitting alongside Beyoncé and JayZ at the awards show, my heart breaks to know the number of people struggling with thoughts of suicide. We all need to be a force for changing the statistics. Logic and Pope Benedict remind me to be outside of myself and be ready to notice, listen, and accompany friends, acquaintances, and strangers. We need to speak truth into the lies we tell ourselves and the lies others tell themselves. The truth is, “it can be hard, it can be so hard. But you gotta live right now, you got everything to give right now.”

I repeat Logic and Pope Benedict XVI’s sentiments. If you are feeling low, like your life doesn’t matter, and like nobody cares, please know I do. You are valuable, purposed, and needed in this world. There is hope and people who want to help. I want you to be alive. 1-800-273-8255.

Pope Benedict XVI at the VMAs @ The Salt Stories

Oh Pope Francis wanted to weigh in too…

“What is the medicine to change the heart of a person who is not happy? [The people respond: love] Louder! [They shout: love] Good! Good, good everyone! And how do you make a person feel that someone loves him? First you need to embrace him. Make him feel that he is wanted, that he is important, and he will stop being sad. Love calls to love, more powerfully than hatred calls to death. Jesus did not die and rise for himself, but for us, so that our sins might be forgiven. It is therefore a time of resurrection for everyone: time to raise up the poor from discouragement, especially those who have been lying in the tomb for much longer than three days. May the wind of liberation blow here, on our faces. May the gift of hope bud forth. And hope is from God the Father who loves us as we are: he loves us always and everyone.” -Pope Francis, General Audience, St. Peter’s Square Jun 14, 2017


  1. What a video! Hadn’t seen it.
    Same message of love from two people who are very different, but equally loved by God.
    Thanks for this post, Amy.

    • Very powerful message! My hope now is that my words can turn in to actions and I am able to be a friend that listens and responds well.

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