GIRM 289: Noble Assistance of the Arts

This appreciation for the visual arts is rather forward-looking, and presumes a connection to Christ and the aims of liturgy:

289. Consequently, the Church constantly seeks the noble assistance of the arts and admits the artistic expressions of all peoples and regions.[cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 123] In fact, just as she is intent on preserving the works of art and the artistic treasures handed down from past centuries [cf. Eucharisticum Mysterium 24] and, in so far as necessary, on adapting them to new needs, so also she strives to promote new works of art that are in harmony with the character of each successive age.[cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 123, 129; Inter Oecumenici 13c]

On account of this, in appointing artists and choosing works of art to be admitted into a church, what should be looked for is that true excellence in art which nourishes faith and devotion and accords authentically with both the meaning and the purpose for which it is intended.[cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 123]

These “new works” are described laudably as having a harmony with the character of the age. This is dependent, of course, on the prescriptions of GIRM 288, a suitability for liturgy, as well as a focus on active participation. Interesting that artists and works of art are described here–not catalogue reproductions and imitations. The search for modern liturgical art is not between the catalogue and the weird only. Good artists are available to work with discerning communities–I’ve worked with several over the years.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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