Saturday, February 09, 2013

Archbishop hopes St. Peter art show will spark longing for God

A unique art exhibition aimed at giving “voice to the nostalgia for God” found in modern culture will open at Castel Sant’Angelo tomorrow as part of the Year of Faith.

The exhibit will bring together works from nine countries and will allow visitors to both contemplate beauty and “have an important meeting with the image of Peter,” Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization told CNA on Feb. 5.

That encounter with St. Peter, he added, will give viewers a chance to grow in faith.

The exhibition, called “The Path of Peter,” was introduced by Archbishop Fisichella at the Holy See press office on Feb. 5. It features pieces that range from the 4th and 5th centuries all the way until the 20th century.

“First of all, it's good to explain the 'why' of this exhibit,” Archbishop Fisichella said, underscoring that the aim of the show is to reinforce the desire for God that is present in everyone’s heart.

The new evangelization council decided to organize the exhibit because “Peter is the image of humanity that seeks and that finds and that, after having found, follows,” the archbishop said.

“Looking upon the work of art, believers and non-believers have different reactions, but beauty expresses a call to one and all to listen to the message that can be perceived in the silence of contemplation,” he observed.

The Path of Peter exhibition will last from Feb. 6 until May 1 and is taking place at Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome.

The president of the new evangelization council also offered some insights into the contemporary cultural situation.

He believes that the current moment is “strongly characterized by contradictory movements ... On the one hand it seems that there is a general feeling of fatigue and indifference that even affects our faith” and assumes faith is no longer relevant.

“On the other hand,” he noted, “there is the excessive enthusiasm for scientific progress and new lifestyles as if these were the solutions to today's serious problems.”

The conclusion that is frequently presented in response to these desires is to say that “it is good to limit faith's sphere to the private, denying its social or cultural effect.”

And yet, Archbishop Fisichella said that the desire for transcendent beauty remains strong, a fact that can be seen in the constant demand for the beauty of nature and works of art.

Looking ahead to the rest of Pope Benedict's Year of Faith – which lasts until Nov. 24 – Archbishop Fisichella said his council is planning several events in Rome that will “testify that faith is not just something private, but on the contrary, is something that is lived together with the community, and also as a public sign for the world.”

Launched on Oct. 11 of 2012, the Pope's Year of Faith marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and has been heralded as an opportunity for Catholics to renew their faith in order to share it more fully with those around them.

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