Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Culture of the Images

In the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, there are fourteen images. However, on the Vatican web site showing the Compendium, the images are nowhere to be seen.

This is surprising and disappointing. The images more than complement the work.They are integral to it.

In the Introduction to the Compendium dated 20 March 2005, Palm Sunday, the then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, President of the Special Commission, wrote:

"Images are also a preaching of the Gospel.

Artists in every age have offered the principal facts of the mystery of salvation to the contemplation and wonder of believers by presenting them in the splendour of colour and in the perfection of beauty.

It is an indication of how today more than ever, in a culture of images, a sacred image can express much more than what can be said in words, and be an extremely effective and dynamic way of communicating the Gospel message."

On June 28 2005, during the ceremonial presentation of the new Compendium, Benedict XVI said:

"Image and word illuminate one another in turn. Art always 'speaks,' at least implicitly, of the divine, of the infinite beauty of God, which finds its reflection in the icon par excellence: Christ the Lord, the image of the invisible God.

Sacred images, with their beauty, are also heralds of the Gospel and express the splendor of Catholic truth, showing the supreme harmony between the good and the beautiful, between the 'via veritatis [way of truth]’ and the 'via pulchritudinis [way of beauty].’

While they give witness to the age-old and prolific tradition of Christian art, they encourage all, both believers and nonbelievers, to discover and contemplate the inexhaustible wonder of the mystery of redemption, continually providing a new impulse for the lively process of its inculturation in time."


Article by Sandro Magister and a commentary on the illustrations in the new catechism by Timothy Verdon.
Click here.

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