Via Pulchritudinis: How can the Via Pulchritudinis be a Response? Part 4

We continue to respond to the question of section II, part 2: How can the Via Pulchritudinis be a Response?

Remember yesterday, Pope John Paul II reminded us in 1998 that a move from phenomenon (how we perceive the universe) to foundation (how God has made it). At least that’s how a philosophy runt like me would explain it.

There’s a criticism ahead of human culture. some might attribute it to the modern world, but I’m a skeptic on that. The “addiction to ugliness” as the document reads, is not confined to any age, generation, or culture. I think this fourth paragraph addressing how the Way of Beauty responds is well put here:

This move from phenomenon to foundation is not made spontaneously by those unaccustomed to passing from the visible to the invisible due to a sort of addiction to the ugliness, bad taste and uncouthness promoted by publicity as much as by those artistes fous who profit from the squalid and the ugly provoking scandal.

The examples from literature and from the Judeo-Christian tradition are apt:

Indeed, even the captivating flowers of evil fascinate: “Are you from the highest heaven or out of the abyss, O beauty?” pondered Baudelaire. And Dimitri Karamazov confided to his brother Aliocha: “Beauty is a terrible thing. It is the struggle between God and Satan, the battleground, my heart.” If beauty is image of the creator God, it is also the child of Adam and Eve and so in turn marked by sin. The human person risks falling into the trap of beauty taken for itself—the icon become idol, the means that swallow the end, truth that imprisons, trap into which people fall, due to an inadequate formation in the senses and the lack of a proper education regarding beauty.

Basic stuff many people, even well-meaning women and men may forget. Another twist sometimes on the ends justifying the means. Keep the focus on God. Trust the expression the Divine provides for us human beings.

The full document is here.

Image: the rose window at Notre Dame in Paris, By Zachi Evenor based on File:North rose window of Notre-Dame de Paris, Aug 2010.jpg by Julie Anne Workman – CC BY-SA 2.0,

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Art, evangelization, Via Pulchritudinis. Bookmark the permalink.

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