Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I am looking forward to the publishing of the new Compendium to the Catechism of the Catholic Church later this year (I believe in October). I am also excited to learn of the sacred art and images that will be required to be published within the Compendium as documented on this Italian website, Chiesa. The loss of the sacred, especially in art, has been well documented by others, and I'm glad to see it making a comeback. Within my own parish, designed in the late 70s and built in 1980, we have just finished a renovation that attempted to bring back a sense of tradition and of the sacred.

Now if we can only do something about sacred music, too.

The use of these images in catechesis is very near to the heart of Joseph Ratzinger. In the introduction to the "Compendium," dated March 20, 2005, he wrote:

"Images are also a preaching of the Gospel. Artists in every age have offered the principal facts of the mystery of salvation to the contemplation and wonder of believers by presenting them in the splendour of colour and in the perfection of beauty. It is an indication of how today more than ever, in a culture of images, a sacred image can express much more than what can be said in words, and be an extremely effective and dynamic way of communicating the Gospel message."

The pope was just as explicit in this speech that he gave on June 28 during the ceremonial presentation of the new catechism:

"Image and word illuminate one another in turn. Art always 'speaks,' at least implicitly, of the divine, of the infinite beauty of God, which finds its reflection in the icon par excellence: Christ the Lord, the image of the invisible God. Sacred images, with their beauty, are also heralds of the Gospel and express the splendor of Catholic truth, showing the supreme harmony between the good and the beautiful, between the 'via veritatis [way of truth]’ and the 'via pulchritudinis [way of beauty].’ While they give witness to the age-old and prolific tradition of Christian art, they encourage all, both believers and nonbelievers, to discover and contemplate the inexhaustible wonder of the mystery of redemption, continually providing a new impulse for the lively process of its inculturation in time."


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