Pope Sees Beauty as a Means of Evangelization

Necessary to Make the Luminous Face of God Shine, He Says

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 9, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II presented beauty as the «path» for the Church to proclaim the Gospel to contemporary society.

Attending the Public Session of the Pontifical Academies today, the Pope said that «the path of beauty» is the «privileged itinerary for the encounter between the Christian faith and the cultures of our time and a precious instrument for the formation of the young generations.»

The papal address to the academics, read on behalf of the Holy Father by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State, said that «in 2,000 years of history, the Church has journeyed in many ways on the path of beauty through works of sacred art, which have supported prayer, the liturgy, family life and Christian communities.»

The address continued: «Splendid architectonic masterworks, paintings, sculptures and miniatures; musical, literary and theatrical works, together with other works of art erroneously considered as minor, are authentic treasures that make us understand, through the language of beauty and symbols, the profound harmony that exists between faith and art, between human creativity and the work of God, author of all authentic beauty.»

«Could humanity enjoy today such a great artistic patrimony if the Christian community had not encouraged and supported the creativity of numerous artists, proposing to them as model and inspiration the beauty of Christ, splendor of the Father?» John Paul II asked in his address.

«However,» he added, «for beauty to shine in all its splendor, it must be united to goodness and holiness of life; that is, it is necessary to make shine in the world, through the holiness of his children, the luminous face of the good, admirable and just God.

«The testimony of Christians, if it is to make an impact on modern society, cannot cease to be nourished by beauty in order to become an eloquent transparency of the beauty of the love of God.»

The task of Christian intellectuals, and in particular of artists, is «to nourish the love of everything that is an authentic expression of human genius, reflection of the divine beauty,» the Pope stated.

The Public Session of the Pontifical Academies was opened by Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, who in his address presented «art and beauty as a bridge between culture and faith.»

The Church must journey on the «path of beauty» to «witness with efficacy and communicate the Gospel,» thus promoting «a new Christian humanism for the third millennium,» the cardinal said.

The session was attended by members of the pontifical academies whose coordination council is under Cardinal Poupard: the St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, the Academy of Theology, the Academy of the Immaculate, the International Marian Academy, the Academy of Fine Arts and Classics of the Virtuosi of the Pantheon, the Roman Academy of Archaeology, and the Academy of Devotion to the Martyrs.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation