‘If An Artist Is Genuine, He Is Able to Talk of God Better’

The Holy Father’s Address to the Members of the ‘Diakonia of Beauty’

If An Artist Is Genuine
The Pope with the association 'Diaconie de la Beauté' © Vatican Media

“If he is genuine, an artist is able to talk of God better than anyone, to make us perceive His beauty and His goodness, to reach the human heart and make the truth shine,” said Pope Francis yesterday to the members of the Diaconie de la Beauté during their private audience, on the occasion of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Diakonia’s foundation.

According to its Webpage, the Diaconie de la Beaute is an association whose objective is to serve artists and the Church, as well as to give meaning to art in all its forms and, especially, to transmit the desire for beauty.

Beauty Creates Communion

At the beginning of his address, the Holy Father described how the Bible talks of the “beauty of the universe and of all that it contains, and that it refers, by analogy, to that of the Creator.” He also said that “each one of us is called by nature to be artisans and guardians of this beauty. In a certain sense, an artistic work complements the beauty of Creation and, when it’s inspired in the faith, it reveals more clearly to people the divine love that is at their origin.”

Mentioning his greeting to the directors of the Patronage of Arts in the Vatican Museum in 2005, the Pontiff highlighted that “beauty is able to create communion,” because “it unites God to man and to Creation in one symphony; because it connects the past the present and the future; because it attracts different and distant peoples in the same gaze.”

The Pontiff also pointed out that an artist is not limited by time, “because his art speaks to all times,” or by space, “because beauty can touch what is universal in all, especially thirst for God, overcoming the barriers of languages and cultures.”

Quoting Saint John Paul II’s “Letter to Artists,” the Pope asserted that “to transmit the message that Christ has entrusted to her, the Church needs art.” And the latter must “transfer to significant formulas what is ineffable in itself. However, art has its own ability to capture one or another aspect of the message, translating it into colors, forms, and sounds that follow the intuition of the viewer or the listener,” he continued.

Beauty, Source of Joy

 The Holy Father then exhorted the members of the Diaconie de la Beauté tocultivate their art” and to address  “the men and women of our time, always taking care that there is a certain understanding on their part because an incomprehensible and hermetic art fails in its purpose.” He clarified that the Church counts on them “to help our brothers and sisters to have a sensitive and compassionate heart, a renewed gaze of love for the world and for others.”

“In the present difficult context of the world, in which disconcert and sadness seem to impose themselves sometimes, your mission is more necessary than ever, because beauty is always a source of joy, which puts us in contact with divine goodness. If there is beauty, it’s because God is good and gives it to us. And this gives us joy, calms us, and does us good,” he concluded.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester