In an historic meeting with artists in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI summoned the Church and the world to engage in “an authentic ‘renaissance’ of art.” The Second Fota International Liturgy Conference was convened the same year to examine just how to do so. Architecture, painting, sculpture, furnishings—all have an indispensible role to play in raising our hearts and minds to God.
Developing the themes set out in Benedict XVI and the Sacred Liturgy, this second volume in the series examines the fundamental principles that guide the Church in determining which works of art are truly “signs and symbols of the supernatural world” (Sacrosanctum concilium 122). Pope Benedict XVI’s extraordinary combination of theological depth and cultural breadth makes him one of the most important voices in this discussion. The essays contained here draw on the richness of the Pontiff ’s thought to suggest how the Church might overcome the “new iconoclasm” of the post-Conciliar period in order to contemplate the face of Christ more clearly. The authors address questions both practical and theoretical, and their proposals are as commonsensical as they are bold. Benedict XVI and Beauty in Sacred Art and Architecture promises to sharpen our Christian understanding of beauty, and to inspire the elevation of liturgical art from the mundane to the celestial—from the banal to the sublime.
D. Vincent Twomey SVD is professor emeritus of moral theology, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Janet E. Rutherford is hon. secretary, the Patristic Symposium, Maynooth.