Sacred Art

Islam: Who Are We to Judge?

Anecdotal evidence doesn’t carry as much weight as statistical evidence, but sometimes it speaks volumes. That’s especially the case when the anecdote concerns a representative of society or when it illustrates taken-for-granted behavior. What follows are some vignettes taken from various Islamic communities which serve to illustrate the deep gulf separating acceptable behavior in the [...]

Some Church Architectural Styles Really Are Profane

Architecture speaks, and, like a homily or proclamation of scripture, it can change us profoundly. It preaches and teaches every time we enter a church building. When it speaks truth it reminds us that God is central, and that we are broken and in need of a savior who offers us a place of eternal [...]

How to Save the Church’s Architectural Patrimony

There is an unprecedented crisis in our cities, yet most are not aware of it. It does not affect residents nor shoppers in our tony neighborhoods. In working-class neighborhoods some see it as a concern, but they are a minority. What is this crisis? In dioceses across the country, including Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and New [...]

Remembering Monte Cassino

February 15 marks the date of one of the most regrettable episodes in the history of World War II, the bombing and destruction of the abbey of Monte Cassino in Italy in 1944. The Battle of Monte Cassino has been described as one of the longest and bloodiest engagements in the war, and the destruction [...]

The Church Needs Artists

“The Church has need especially of those who can do this [communicate the message] on the literary and figurative level, using the endless possibilities of images and their symbolic force. Christ Himself made extensive use of images in His preaching, fully in keeping with His willingness to become, in the Incarnation, the icon of the [...]

No Pentecost Liturgy Should Exclude the Veni Sancte Spiritus

Something beautiful is supposed to happen on Pentecost, though you might miss it. The culmination of the Easter season offers us a gem of sacred art: Veni Sancte Spiritus, the Pentecost sequence, which has long been regarded as one of the most magnificent works of literature in the Church’s treasury. When set to appropriate music, [...]

The Crisis of Contemporary Sacred Art

"This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. Beauty, like truth, brings joy to the human heart and is that precious fruit which resists the erosion of time, which unites generations and enables them to be one in admiration!" ∼ Closing of the Second Vatican Council: Address of [...]

Let the Church Be a House of Wonder

Introibo ad altare Dei. Ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam. I shall go in to the altar of God. To God, the joy of my youth. A few days ago I entered for the first time what some people in the area call the Sistine Chapel of America. There's reason for that. Saint Anne's Church, [...]

Religious Imagery in Norman Rockwell Paintings

Contrary to a widespread misconception, Norman Rockwell was not a conventionally religious man. He was raised Episcopalian and spent many boyhood hours in church serving in the choir. But as an adult, Rockwell did not belong to a church at all, and seems to have entirely walked away from any kind of regular religious devotion. [...]

How John Paul II Restored Liturgical Sanity

We tend to think of the papacy of Benedict XVI as the papacy that put the Catholic liturgy back together again, turning the “hermeneutic of rupture” into the “hermeneutic of continuity.” Rarely receiving the credit for preparing the way is John Paul II, who labored mightily and brilliantly during his pontificate—in a long and consistent [...]

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