EG 167: The Way of Beauty

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdalenePope Francis picks up on a proposition of synod, something of the artistry of faith. It’s not about the rational truth all the time:

167. Every form of catechesis would do well to attend to the “way of beauty” (via pulchritudinis).[Cf. Propositio 20] Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendor and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties. Every expression of true beauty can thus be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus. This has nothing to do with fostering an aesthetic relativism[Inter Mirifica, 6] which would downplay the inseparable bond between truth, goodness and beauty, but rather a renewed esteem for beauty as a means of touching the human heart and enabling the truth and goodness of the Risen Christ to radiate within it. If, as Saint Augustine says, we love only that which is beautiful,[Cf. De Musica, VI, 13, 38: PL 32, 1183-1184; Confessiones, IV, 13.20: PL 32, 701] the incarnate Son, as the revelation of infinite beauty, is supremely lovable and draws us to himself with bonds of love. So a formation in the via pulchritudinis ought to be part of our effort to pass on the faith.

My sense of Church history is that we used to be more engaged in this way. But the modern leaning to reason and truth has diverted us somewhat from this aspect.

Each particular Church should encourage the use of the arts in evangelization, building on the treasures of the past but also drawing upon the wide variety of contemporary expressions so as to transmit the faith in a new “language of parables”.[BENEDICT XVI, Address for the Screening of the Documentary “Art and Faith” – Via Pulchritudinis (25 October 2012): L’Osservatore Romano (27 October 2012), 7] We must be bold enough to discover new signs and new symbols, new flesh to embody and communicate the word, and different forms of beauty which are valued in different cultural settings, including those unconventional modes of beauty which may mean little to the evangelizers, yet prove particularly attractive for others.

New signs, new symbols, new ways: could be considered dangerous. What do you think?

Evangelii Gaudium is online here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Evangelii Gaudium, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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