About this blogger:
Richard J. Clark has served since 1989 as Music Director and Organist at Saint Cecilia Church in Boston, Massachusetts. He is also Chapel Organist (Saint Mary’s Chapel) at Boston College. For the Archdiocese of Boston, he directed the Office of Divine Worship Saint Cecilia Schola. His compositions have been performed on four continents.
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“In spite of what it is currently called, the music of these songs is not modem: this musical style is not new, but has been played in the most profane places and surroundings (cabarets, music halls, often for more or less lascivious dances with foreign names). The people are led on to rock or swing. They all feel an urge to dance about. That sort of “body language” is certainly alien to our Western culture, unfavorable to contemplation and its origins are rather suspect. Most of the time our congregations, which already find it hard not to confuse the crochets and the quavers in a 6/8 bar, do not respect the rhythm; then one no longer feels like dancing, but with the rhythm gone to pieces, the habitual poorness of the melodic line becomes all the more noticeable.”
— Unnamed choirmaster (Northern France) circa 1986

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Many Questions | Pope Saint John Paul II’s Letter to Artists (Part 2)
published 19 September 2014 by Richard J. Clark

AST WEEK, POPE SAINT John Paul II’s Letter to Artists was discussed. As art expresses truth in its beauty, Saint John Paul asserted that the Church needs art.

      * *   Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists • 1999

VERY KIND READER sent me this beautiful three-minute video on Pope John Paul II’s “Letter to Artists”. The information accompanying the video indicates:

A tribute to John Paul II’s “Letter to Artists”, as read by students at John Paul the Great Catholic University. This video was posted in April 2014, to commemorate his canonization to sainthood, and as a gift to Christian artists throughout the world.

THIS VIDEO ACTS AS A WONDERFUL MEDITATION on the role art plays in prayer and in our relationship with God. As such, Saint John Paul’s letter opens the door to a number of questions. Here are just a few to begin a broader discussion:

1 • What role does art play in our interior and exterior prayer life?
2 • Therefore, What implications does beauty and art have for the liturgy?
3 • E.g., What roles do music, architecture, and vestments play in our prayer?
4 • Do art and beauty require intricacy and complexity?
5 • What implication does the subjective nature of judging beauty, and therefore the experience of art, have on corporate prayer?
6 • Saint John Paul stated in this letter: “The ‘beautiful’ was thus wedded to the “true”, so that through art too souls might be lifted up from the world of the senses to the eternal.” (§7) As truth is objective, is there a standard for what is beautiful?

“In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. (§12)— Pope Saint John Paul II

Pray always and be unceasingly inspired! Sacred Art in service to God and his people is a great calling—one that is encouraged by a great saint.