Inter Mirifica 6

The bishops make a case for the primacy of objective morality: 

The second question deals with the relationship between the rights, as they are called, of art and the norms of morality. Since the mounting controversies in this area frequently take their rise from false teachings about ethics and esthetics, the Council proclaims that all must hold to the absolute primacy of the objective moral order, that is, this order by itself surpasses and fittingly coordinates all other spheres of human affairs-the arts not excepted-even though they be endowed with notable dignity. For (a person) who is endowed by God with the gift of reason and summoned to pursue a lofty destiny, is alone affected by the moral order in (her or) his entire being. And likewise, if (a person) resolutely and faithfully upholds this order, (she or) he will be brought to the attainment of complete perfection and happiness.

I’ve been way on the periphery in discussions about shock value in the arts. The outrageous pieces one sees or hears about in the media are on a par with classical pops, mainstream pop/rock or rap, or network tv. A pitifully vain attempt to make a statement in which the shock itself becomes the expression. Sorry campers, that’s not art. It’s mostly empty bluster imitating art. If a person wants to insult another person, I suppose they can start a blog. If they need an expression for anger, I’d suggest a 12-step group or therapy.

That’s not to say that art can’t or shouldn’t challenge the people who engage it. But there’s more than enough material to explore that will disturb people without getting too obvious about it.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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