“Letter of Benedict XVI to artists”, Victor Benz’s “Sacred Art” column in tribute to the pope emeritus

Since yesterday, tens of thousands of people have paid their last respects to the pope in Rome Benedict XVI. Let us remember that he was a great man, a pastor of the Church seeking peace and reconciliation, a theologian who would continue to nurture the thinking of the Church, but also a great lover of art and artist, he loved playing the piano… I invite you to lend me my voice and read large excerpt from his speech to the artists November 21, 2009.

“With this meeting, I want to express and renew the friendship of the Church with the world of art, a friendship that has been consolidated over time, because Christianity, from its origins, understands the value of art and wisely uses different languages ​​to communicate. his unalterable message of salvation. This friendship must be continuously encouraged and supported, so that it is authentic and fruitful, adapted to the times and taking into account social and cultural situations and changes. […]
It is you who are the actors of this meeting, dear and illustrious artists, who come from different countries, cultures and religions, perhaps even far from religious experience, but wish to maintain a lively communication with the Catholic Church, and not limit their horizons. existence to purely material aspects, to visions that are reductive and dismissive. […]
The present moment is sadly marked, not only by negative phenomena at the social and economic level, but also by a weakening of hope, by a lack of trust in human relations, which is why the signs are increasing resignation, aggressiveness, despair. Then, the world we live in is in danger of changing its face because of the work, not always wise, of humans who, instead of cultivating its beauty, exploit without conscience the planet’s resources for the profit of small sums and who often destroy natural wonders. What can restore vigor and self-confidence, what can impel the human soul to find its way back, to raise its eyes to the horizon, to dream of a life worthy of its calling if not beauty? Dear artist, you know very well that the experience of beauty, true beauty, neither ephemeral nor superficial, is not something accidental or secondary in the search for meaning and happiness, for this experience does not dispel reality, but, on the contrary, it leads to a close confrontation with everyday life, freeing it from darkness and transforming it, making it radiant, beautiful.
The essential function of true beauty, in fact, already evident in Plato, consists in giving man a beneficial “jolt”, which keeps him out of himself, snatches him out of resignation, from compromise with everyday life. , also makes him suffer, like a painful sting, but precisely in this way “awakens” him, opens the eyes of his heart and mind to him again, gives him wings, pushes him up. […]
authentic beauty opens the human heart to nostalgia, a deep desire to know, to love, to the Other, to what is Beyond oneself. If we let beauty touch us deeply, hurt us, open our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of sight, the ability to comprehend the deep meaning of our being, the Mystery of which we are a part and from which we can derive abundance. , happiness, the spirit of daily commitment. […]
Great biblical stories, themes, images, parables have inspired countless masterpieces in every field of art, just as they have spoken to the heart of every generation of believers through the equally eloquent and captivating works of local arts and crafts. […]
Dear artist, approaching the conclusion, I would also like to offer, as my predecessors have done, a warm, friendly, and passionate plea. You are the keeper of beauty; You have, thanks to your talent, the possibility to speak to the heart of humanity, touch individual and collective sensibilities, awaken dreams and hopes, expand the horizons of human knowledge and commitment. So be grateful for the gifts received and fully aware of the great responsibility to communicate beauty, to communicate in beauty and through beauty!
Be, you too, through your art, a herald and witness of hope for mankind! And do not be afraid to confront yourself with this ultimate and final source of beauty, to enter into dialogue with people of faith, with those who, like you, feel they are on a pilgrimage in the world and in history, towards infinite Beauty! Faith takes nothing away from your genius, your art, on the contrary it exalts and nourishes them, it impels them to cross the threshold and contemplate with enchanted and moved eyes the final and sure goal, the twilightless sun that illuminates and beautifies the present. . […]
Dear friends, I urge you to discover and better express, through the beauty of your works, the mystery of God and the mystery of man. God bless ! »

Pope Benedict XVIthrough this meeting, following in the footsteps of Saint John Paul II, who had written a letter to artists on April 4, 1999, and of Saint Paul VI, who had organized the first meeting with artists on May 7, 1964 in the Sistine Chapel.

Thursday, January 5 RCF is offering a special program on the occasion of Benoit XVI’s funeral.

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