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Benedict XVI Praises Theology-Art Link

Lauds Work of 90-Year-Old Czech Cardinal

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is recognizing the contribution made by Cardinal Tomas Spidlik to theological dialogue between the East and West. The Pope celebrated a Mass for him today on the cardinal’s 90th birthday.

He celebrated the Mass in the Redemptoris Mater chapel in the Apostolic Palace, which was designed under the supervision of Cardinal Spidlik.

The Czech cardinal, a Jesuit, is a specialist in Eastern theology and spirituality and he is the founder of the Aletti Center. The center is attached to the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

The Redemptoris Mater chapel is a work of Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, of the Aletti Center. The chapel is an artistic-theological synthesis of Eastern and Western Christian spirituality.

In this context, the Holy Father emphasized the important contribution of Cardinal Spidlik, “interweaving through the years a lively and, in many senses, original theological vision, in which the Christian East and West come together organically, mutually exchanging their respective gifts.”

The Pope continued: “Its foundation is the life of the Spirit; the beginning of knowledge: love; study: an initiation in spiritual memory; dialogue with the individual person: an indispensable criteria; and its context: the ever living body of Christ, which is his Church.

“Directly linked to this theological vision is the exercise of spiritual paternity, which Cardinal Spidlik has constantly developed and continues to develop.”

The Pontiff reflected on the work carried out by the Aletti Center, “which seeks to take up his precious teaching, making it fruitful with new intuitions and new investigations, also through artistic representation.”

Benedict XVI stated that it seems to him “particularly beautiful to emphasize the link between theology and art that flows from [the cardinal’s] thought.”

Cardinal Spidlik “has travelled a rich itinerary of thought, always communicating with ardor and profound conviction that the center of all of revelation is a Tripersonal God, and that, consequently, man created in his image is essentially a mystery of liberty and love, who is fulfilled in communion: the same mode of being as God,” the Pope explained. “This communion does not exist for itself, but rather proceeds — as the Christian East tirelessly affirms — from the divine Persons who freely love each other.

“Liberty and love, constitutive elements of the person, are not apprehensible through rational categories, which is why the person cannot be understood, if not within the mystery of Christ, true God and true man, and in a communion with him, which becomes acceptance of the divine-human also in our existence.”

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On the Net:

Aletti Center: http://www.lipaonline.org/ealetti.htm

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