Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Catholic Art Website

Here is an excerpt from Catholic artist Daniel Paul Jerome Mitsui's brand new blog, The Lion and the Cardinal:
My larger purpose in creating this website is to assist the aesthetic formation of fellow Catholics, which is too often neglected in contemporary evangelization. Our culture is now as depraved in its aesthetic as in its conscience; restoring of the sanity of Christendom in the modern age will be impossible without the beauty and profundity of its artistic and musical heritage. Catholicism particularly is a religion of images and sounds; for nearly the entirety of its history, its means of catechesis were buildings, paintings, statues, illuminations, windows, altars, vestments, vessels and music more than verbal lessons and arguments. If the new evangelization is to share the success of the old evangelizations, it will not be merely bookish and apologetic, nor will it conform to the conventions of modern media. If a new sacred art is to flourish, contemporary creativity must be grafted onto the living tradition of the Church, so it may grow and develop to natural sustenance...

I use the term ‘formation’ deliberately, because an aesthetic is comparable to a conscience. What the Catholic Church teaches about the conscience can be said truly about the aesthetic. An ability to distinguish beauty from ugliness is inherent to the human person, inscribed by his Creator. Good art and its appreciation are found in all cultures regardless of circumstance, even among cavemen. Yet this inherent sense can be depraved by the sophistry and temptation of the enemy. A trustworthy aesthetic must be vigilantly formed through prudent education, prayer, and practice. Only when properly formed is its judgment trustworthy. Such vigilance is especially necessary in this age, when mass-produced and mass-marketed popular culture is a uniquely threatening evil.

Some will object to this comparison, claiming that morality and aesthetics are unconnected. Indeed, bad taste is not a mortal sin. However, a depraved conscience that calls goodness evil and evil goodness and a depraved aesthetic that calls ugliness beauty and beauty ugliness are often symptoms of the same insanity....

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