The human body is objectified in the present day in a way that it was not during the time of Michelangelo. This is a subject that generates heated discussion and is a source of contention even among Catholics, so how do we approach this issue in our daily lives?
Art & Entertainment
Let’s go on a short virtual tour of St. Raymond of Peñafort in the Diocese of Arlington, VA. This is a relatively new church (~2006) constructed in a traditional style. It is an ideal example of Catholic architecture for us to explore and draw reflections from.
As a freshman in college, I had the opportunity to take several trips with other art students to New York City. In one art gallery, I was surprised to find that the entire exhibition consisted of giant concrete blocks arranged in various ways. I walked around, confused. What’s the meaning behind “artwork” like this? What does it say about society that things like this are considered great art?
Based on the 1862 book by Victor Hugo, this popular musical runs the gamut of human experience: love and loss, forgiveness and bitterness, justice and mercy, grace and despair.
The purpose of sacred art is to lift your thoughts toward God. If you’re a visual person, art can be a helpful and enjoyable way to draw yourself into prayer.
Do we have to avoid all entertainment that isn’t 100% in tune with the Faith? Of course not. But it’s important to make prudent choices about what you put into your imagination, and to avoid things that present temptations for you.
In considering what constitutes good art from a Catholic perspective, a natural starting point is to look to God and His artwork, i.e., Creation. It’s the finest artwork, which never fails to captivate the human heart in search of Him.
If you asked people to relate their experiences of art to their Catholic faith, you’d probably stop most of them in their tracks. In the medieval period, art had a clearly religious tilt. This could be seen especially in the breathtaking cathedrals, with their statues, stained-glass windows, tapestries, and other ornate decorations.