John Paul II leads off today’s reflection:
§ 161 § Artists bridge the worlds of the visible and the mysterious invisible. They focus upon items with specific shapes, sizes, weights, densities, colors, forms, and textures. At the same time, they utilize materials that struggle to express ideas and concepts, visions, and imaginative constructions. Even as they nourish the senses with beauty, they also disclose the “transcendent value” and the “aura of mystery” in the Christian message.(Letter to Artists 12)
We’ve got to take a close look at his letter, don’t you think?
§ 162 § Artists choose materials with integrity because they will endure from generation to generation, because they are noble enough for holy actions, and because they express what is most respected and beautiful in the lives and cultures of the community. Materials, colors, shapes, and designs that are of short-lived popularity are unworthy. In addition to eliminating unsuitable materials, artists and communities should be cautious and discerning about promoting features closely identified with the values and attitudes of any class, ethnic, or age group to the exclusion of others in the community.
The reflection on endurance and nobility are important. Depending on your parish, it might yet need to embrace this principle, or it may have done so two generations ago. The embrace of endurance and nobility often operates independently of the progressive/conservative track. Before BLS, an intentional community, one already committed to quality and beauty in liturgy, will likely have addressed this in its works of art.
§ 163 § Similarly, artworks consisting of technological and interactive media, such as video and other electronically fabricated images, may also be appropriate for sacred purposes. Subject to the same criteria of suitability as other sacred art, technologically produced works of art can point toward sacred realities even though they do not possess the more enduring form, color, texture, weight, and density found in more traditional sacred art.
As for technological fabrication, I would say proceed with caution. Simple video and audio are likely not enough to bear the weight of mystery. It will surely have to be something deeper, something creative of the medium itself, and not just a reproduction of an attractive image or sound. That would be a false presentation, in my opinion. Unworthy of liturgy, however well done it might be.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
One request from way back in July was to look at evangelization as a continuation of this site’s observance of The Year of Faith. I suppose a peek at the documents going in and coming out of last month’s synod is a thought. I think that Pope Benedict will be writing up a serious summary of the input, plus his reflections. I will be posting now and then on evangelization methods and experiences from our campus parish.
Otherwise, any suggestions?
1975 was a holy year dedicated to reconciliation, hence, this connection:
81. This then, brothers and sons and daughters, is our heartfelt plea. It echoes the voice of our brethren assembled for the Third General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. This is the task we have wished to give you at the close of a Holy Year which has enabled us to see better than ever the needs and the appeals of a multitude of brethren, both Christians and non-Christians, who await from the Church the Word of salvation.
May the light of the Holy Year, which has shone in the local Churches and in Rome for millions of consciences reconciled with God, continue to shine in the same way after the Jubilee through a program of pastoral action with evangelization as its basic feature, for these years which mark the eve of a new century, the eve also of the third millennium of Christianity.
A final dedication:
82. This is the desire that we rejoice to entrust to the hands and the heart of the Immaculate Blessed Virgin Mary, on this day which is especially consecrated to her and which is also the tenth anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. On the morning of Pentecost she watched over with her prayer the beginning of evangelization prompted by the Holy Spirit: may she be the Star of the evangelization ever renewed which the Church, docile to her Lord’s command, must promote and accomplish, especially in these times which are difficult but full of hope!
In the name of Christ we bless you, your communities, your families, all those who are dear to you, in the words which Paul addressed to the Philippians: “I give thanks to my God every time I think of you- which is constantly, in every prayer I utter- rejoicing, as I plead on your behalf, at the way you have all continually helped to promote the gospel…. I hold all of you dear- you who…are sharers of my gracious lot…to defend the solid grounds on which the gospel rests. God himself can testify how much I long for each of you with the affection of Christ Jesus!”[Phil 1:3-4, 7-8.]
So, what do you think? A different kind of document from the style of John Paul II and Benedict XVI–more rambling and at times, more optimistic. Concerns and cautions, too, a decade out from Vatican II. A sign of a Church not quite at ease with the momentous changes within and outside its walls. But here at least, it was aware of the importance and challenges of evangelization. Care to share any impressions from the whole of the document?