Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization presented details of the exhibit “The Path of Peter” which opens tomorrow at Castel Sant’Angelo and will go on till May 1st. The presentation was made at the Holy See Press Office today. Also participating at the press conference was Fr. Alessio Geretti, curator of the exhibit, and Daniela Porro, superintendent of the Consortium of Roman Museums.
The exhibit, which is one of the many initiatives of the Year of Faith, is a collaborative effort between nine countries and will include pieces ranging from the 4th and 5th centuries all the way to the beginning of the 20th century.
In explaining the reasons for having the exhibit during the Holy Year, Archbishop Fisichella noted that faith is not just a commitment of believers, but as well an expression of humanity’s need to understand the desire for God “that is inscribed on the heart of each person.” However, he explained, the cultural moment we live in today is characterized by what he described as “contradictory movements.”
“On the one hand it seems that there is a general feeling of fatigue and indifference that even affects our faith. It makes it seem limited to a small group of persons and as if it no longer held any appeal to the new generations,” Archbishop Fisichella said.
“On the other hand, there is the excessive enthusiasm for scientific progress and new lifestyles as if these were the solutions to today’s serious problems. Not infrequently in this case, we come to the claim that it is good to limit faith’s sphere to the private, denying its social or cultural effect. At the same time, however, it is easy to see that the desire to enjoy the beauty of nature and works of art is constantly increasing.”
The Italian prelate noted that in today’s day and age, mankind continues to look for something more profound, as well as a search to contemplate a “beauty that is not transient.”
“It is precisely to reinforce this desire and to give voice to the nostalgia for God, often latent in many persons,” the prelate continued, “that we have decided to organize this exhibit as a journey through the centuries to come to know one of the persons who has always stimulated the minds of artists to try to understand his mystery and give it voice.”
In explaining the figure of Peter, Archbishop Fisichella said that Peter is an image of today’s humanity that seeks, finds, and after having found, follows. Despite his weakness and betrayal, Peter “still knows how to ask forgiveness.” The archbishop also noted that the life of the first pope is a true journey of faith that has been captured by artists.
“This exhibit is a path for growing in faith but it is also a challenge to recognize the necessity of believing as a response to the question of meaning that life poses,” Archbishop Fisichella said.
“Looking upon the work of art, believers and non-believers have different reactions, but beauty expresses a call to one and all to listen to the message that can be perceived in the silence of contemplation.”