Pope Francis: Art which transmits truth and beauty gives joy

Vatican City, Dec 12, 2020 / 06:45 am (CNA).- When truth and beauty are transmitted in art, it fills the heart with joy and hope, Pope Francis told a group of performers on Saturday.

“Dear artists, in a special way you are ‘guardians of beauty in our world,’” he said Dec. 12, quoting St. Pope Paul VI’s “Message to Artists.”

“Yours is a lofty and demanding calling, one that requires ‘pure and dispassionate hands’ capable of transmitting truth and beauty,” the pope continued. “For these instil joy in human hearts and are, in fact, ‘a precious fruit that endures through time, unites generations and makes them share in a sense of wonder.’”

Pope Francis spoke about the ability of art to instill joy and hope during a meeting with music artists taking part in the 28th edition of the Christmas Concert in the Vatican.

International pop, rock, soul, gospel, and opera voices are performing in the benefit concert Dec. 12, which will be recorded in an auditorium near the Vatican and broadcast in Italy on Christmas Eve. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year the performance will be recorded without a live audience.

The 2020 concert is fundraising for the Scholas Occurrentes Foundation and Don Bosco Missions.

Pope Francis thanked the music artists for their “spirit of solidarity” in supporting the benefit concert.

“This year, the somewhat dimmed Christmas lights invite us to keep in mind and to pray for all those suffering from the pandemic,” he said.

According to Francis, there are three “movements” of artistic creation: The first is experiencing the world through the senses and being struck with wonder and amazement, and the second movement “touches the depths of our heart and soul.”

In the third movement, he said, “the perception and contemplation of beauty generates a sense of hope that can light up our world.”

“Creation amazes us by its magnificence and variety, while at the same time making us realize, in the face of that grandeur, our own place in the world. Artists know this,” the pope stated.

He again referred to the “Message to Artists,” given on Dec. 8, 1965, in which St. Pope Paul VI said artists are “in love with beauty” and that the world “needs beauty in order not to sink into despair.”

“Today, as always, that beauty appears to us in the lowliness of the Christmas crèche,” Francis said. “Today, as always, we celebrate that beauty with hearts full of hope.”

“Amid the anxiety provoked by the pandemic, your creativity can be a source of light,” he encouraged the artists.

The crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has “made even denser the ‘dark clouds over a closed world,’ and this might seem to obscure the light of the divine, the eternal. Let us not yield to that illusion,” he urged, “but seek the light of Christmas, which dispels the darkness of sorrow and pain.”

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  1. Artist and teacher ROBERT HENRI: “Art appears in many forms. To some degree EVERY HUMAN BEING is an artist, dependent on the quality of his growth. Art need not be intended. It comes as inevitably as the tree from its roots, the branch from the trunk, the blossom from the twig [….] The whole value of art rests in the artist’s ability to see well into what is before him.”

    “Those who have lived and grown at least to some degree in the spirit of freedom are our creative artists [….] They must leave their trace in some way, paint, stone, machinery, whatever [….] I have met masters now and again, some in studios, others ANYWHERE, working on a railroad, running a boat, playing a game, selling things [….] a carpenter or a gardener” (The Art Spirit, 1960).

    ST. GREGORY OF NYSSA explains further: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8) combines with “the Kingdom of God is within you” (Lk:20-1) to mean that the pure of heart is blessed even now to “see the image of the divine nature in THE BEAUTY OF HIS OWN SOUL.”

  2. Would that Pope Francis knelt at the Vatican Christmas creche and experienced deep remorse. Beauty finds its fountainhead in God’s essence. All that is ordered in truth, physically and spiritually. Visual art all the arts are art when they convey that to the senses. Sensible knowledge of spiritual beauty, God expressing his perfect beauty in the created world. Man creatively filtering it through his unique prism giving a new insight of the same creation. Somewhat like Man expressing to the world Christ through the facets of his rare unique prism. Why the saints are so varied. Art possesses that continuity. Unlike last years and this years creche all since 2013. What’s conveyed are personalistic inventions of what is unknown. The truth of the divinity. Visions of entrapped creatures void of humanness. A something perhaps angel in a space helmet. A moon faced dummy child meant more for the capricious play of children, rather than the infant that inspires love in men. Effrontery at a time of spiritual want. Weep and repair. Recapture the beauty conveyed during 2000 years of magnificent art.

  3. Fully considering Pope St. Paul VI has to say about beauty and truth, we notice the DIVORCE of beauty from truth that occurs when the conjugal principles of Humanae Vitae are violated.

    He warns: “Who will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon peoples […] the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious” (n. 17). Rulers? How about Shepherds???

    When gone viral, the moral tailspin opens the door to the James Martins and Cardinal Paglias of this world, who now ENABLE/IMPOSE unnatural aberrations upon the flock, as by Paglia’s homoerotic and in-your-face wall mural (art!) at the cathedral church of the Diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia. Said Cardinal Paglia’s mural artist Cinalli: “The one thing that they didn’t permit me to insert [in the catch-all mural] was the [natural] copulation of two people within this net where everything [else !!!] is permitted.” Maybe Cardinal Paglia should clean things up—surely in the interests of Pope St. Paul VI’s truth and beauty?

    Oh, but wait, Paglia now is too busy to mess with interior decorating (or the interior life), having been PROMOTED as the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Grand Chancellor of the (renamed, etc.) John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences. Besides, the mural includes (inclusive!) his own self-referential portrait…


    • Maureen Mullarkey, artist, writer for the Federalist states it well, “Paglia’s narcissism—the urge to flaunt his liberation from the moral considerations he is pledged to honor—is stunning. It is a finger in the eye of congregants who trust in a priest’s fidelity to his vows. To place it in a public house of worship is treachery. It is also a declaration of Paglia’s own trust in his immunity from reprimand. Let a priest, bound to celibacy, keep his sexuality to himself. Apart from all else, that is elementary manners. It is uncivilized to trumpet what any primitive tribesman understands: that there exists an inviolable boundary between what can be seen and what should be kept hidden. By forcing congregants to peep through a keyhole at his sexual inclinations—and suggested behavior—he mocks the moral sensitivities he is pledged to protect. Abandoning reticence, Paglia disdains his own flock. He is taunting them. There is malice in that”(Maureen Mullarkey in Studio Matters). Cardinal Paglia is one among many who manifest evil within the Church, evil tolerated in measure to adherence. We must be aware. Tolerance is the entree into darkness.

      • Catholics, indeed all with faith in Christ, all decent men must ask this question, Why would this Roman Pontiff, elected to defend the faith appoint reprobate Cardinal Paglia President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and Grand Chancellor of the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences? Priests, bishops have a duty to their faith in Christ, their ordination in Christ to respond candidly first for their own integrity, and certainly for the faithful.

  4. They inspire. They are doing fine but they can do much more. Artists, sportspersons, film stars, and musicians are yet to do justice to their enormous potential in the task of world-rebuilding.

  5. “The bishop of Rome then led his artist visitors to the 2020 creche in St Peter’s Square where Francis then, reportedly, sat in Santa’s lap.”

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