Pope Francis speaks to CELAM

Pope Francis

'Contemplating Great Art, Expressing the Faith, Helps Us Discover What Really Matters in Life,' Says Pope

Christian Art Points Us Toward the Love Who Created Us, Francis Tells Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums

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Contemplating great art expressing the faith, helps us discover what really matters in life.
«Contemplating great art, which expresses the faith, helps us rediscover what truly matters in life.» The Holy Father stressed this to members of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of their foundation, reflecting: «In leading us both within and above ourselves, Christian art points us to the love that created us, to the mercy which saves us, and to the hope that awaits us.»
Throughout history, the Pope pointed out, art has been «second only to life in bearing witness to the Lord.»
«It was, and remains, a majestic road allowing us more than by words and ideas to approach the faith, because it follows the same path of faith, that of beauty. The beauty of art enriches life and creates communion, because it unites God, man and creation in a single symphony.»
In 1983, after a tour in the United States of a major Vatican exhibition tour, the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums was founded to support the preservation and conservation efforts of the museums.
«In today’s troubled world, unfortunately so often torn and damaged by selfishness and the thirst for power,» the Pontiff said, «art represents, perhaps even more than in the past, a universal need because it is a source of harmony and peace, and it expresses the dimension of generosity.»
The Holy Father concluded saying, «I warmly thank you for the good that you do,» imparting his Apostolic Blessing, offering his prayers for them and their families, and asking them to pray for him.
Here is the full Vatican-provided translation of the Pope’s address:
***
Dear Friends,
I am pleased to welcome you on the occasion of your meeting in Rome, which this year coincides with the thirty-fifth anniversary of your Association’s foundation.
Your generosity over these years has contributed to the restoration of numerous art treasures held in the Vatican Museums. In this way you have continued a centuries-long tradition, imitating the achievements of those who contributed to the Church’s history through art. These works include the frescoes and sarcophagi in the catacombs, the great Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals, and the masterpieces of Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini and Canova.
Throughout history, art has been second only to life in bearing witness to the Lord. It was, and remains, a majestic road allowing us more than by words and ideas to approach the faith, because it follows the same path of faith, that of beauty. The beauty of art enriches life and creates communion, because it unites God, man and creation in a single symphony. It connects the past, the present and the future, and it attracts – in the same place and with the same gaze – different and far-off peoples.
Celebrating your anniversary allows us to recall this history with gratitude, but it also enables us to renew our awareness of the important mission of preserving such a beautiful heritage that is so beneficial to men and women. Contemplating great art, which expresses the faith, helps us rediscover what truly matters in life. In leading us both within and above ourselves Christian art points us to the love that created us, to the mercy which saves us, and to the hope that awaits us.
In today’s troubled world, unfortunately so often torn and damaged by selfishness and the thirst for power, art represents, perhaps even more than in the past, a universal need because it is a source of harmony and peace, and it expresses the dimension of generosity. Thanking you warmly for the good that you do, I willingly impart my Blessing accompanied by my best wishes for peace, to you and your families. And please do not forget to pray for me. May the Lord bless you all!
[Original text: Italian]  

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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