Category Archives: Art & Christianity

A Benedictine’s art collection

Michael Komechak.jpegBenedictine culture is very interesting. I find this to be true for 2 reasons: after 1500 years of Benedictine monasticism a refined style of humanity and relationship with God is constitutive and monasteries have interesting people as monks and nuns. The famous Rule of Saint Benedict encourages the monk to praise and worship God through a proper ordering of life and interest. Few Benedictines I know are not proficient in works of culture (in the true meaning of the word) like music, vestment making, bee keeping, keeping the library, preparing good lessons for the classroom, cooking, music writing, preaching, study and the like.

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1,400 year old fresco of St Paul found

new fresco of St paul.jpgThe religious and art worlds are abuzz with the latest find: an early 6th century image of the Apostle Paul in Naples. The discovery happened in the Catacombs of San Gennaro.

Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi said “The image of Saint Paul has an intense expression, philosophical and its discovery enriches our image of one of the principal apostles.”
The story of the new image is found in the culture section of L’Osservatore Romano.

Watch the video story from Rome Reports.
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Paul Haring: opening the shutter to view Christ’s vicar

Paul Haring, a photojournalist who works for Catholic News Service in Rome talks about his vocation in following Pope Benedict to record for us “the moment” with the Vicar of Christ. As Paul notes, it is a singular act of Providence to be see life through an new lens, especially when pointing that lens at the Supreme Pontiff.

If you love photojournalism as I do, you will want to watch this brief video story on working near Benedict XVI narrated by Paul Haring. Both the story and photography are helpful in giving structure to what is an unusual experienced.

Art is not merely an option for the Christian

Our Lord ascended to Heaven so that the Holy Spirit
might come at Pentecost and fill the Church with His truth. The greatest art
expresses that truth and is far superior to vain “self-expression.”
John Keats said “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” but T.S. Eliot
rightly thought that the expression was meaningless sentimentality. The
craftsman ignorant of the Creator becomes a vain aesthete expressing nothing
more than the ego. While truth is beautiful, beauty is not truth itself but
expresses that truth. In the classical tradition, beauty consists in
proportion, integrity and clarity: it is harmonious, suited to its purpose, and
intelligible. This is sublimely seen in Christ Himself, Who incarnated this
beauty as the Way (guiding to a harmony of virtue) and the Truth (revealing
God) and the Life (enlightening with creative love). St. Macarius, an Egyptian
monk of the fourth century said, “The soul which has been fully illumined
by the unspeakable beauty of the glory shining on the countenance of Christ overflows
with the Holy Spirit . . . it is all eye, all light, all countenance.”

is not merely an option for the Christian. Thus, the wisdom of Lorenzo in The
Merchant of Venice: “The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not
mov’d with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils
. . .” The most sublime art is the Eucharist, in which we “take part
in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of
Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims . . .” (Vatican II, SC 8).

Father George Rutler
Pastor, Church of Our Saviour, NYC
homily excerpt from a recent Mass with Artists

‘There Be Dragons’ — Even Saints Have A Past

There Be Dragons.jpg

There’s a film worth watching and spending time thinking about. I believe that we need to reflect upon the great themes of humanity: peace, forgiveness, love, selfishness, self-giving, regret, power, sin, and grace. Either we confront and reject nihilism and thrive, or we capitulate to it and die. We have this opportunity in Roland Joffe’s newest film, “There Be Dragons.”
Comparison’s are not always helpful. The old saying is that comparisons are odious. For many reviewers the only to make sense of “There Be Dragons” is to contrast it with “The Da Vinci Code,” and I happen to see no point in doing so. The two films are apples and oranges, if you will. Be that as it may, “There Be Dragons” is a movie on the early life of a Spanish saint, Josemaria Escrivá de Balaguer (1902-75) which mixes fact with some fiction. The historical context of the film is the Spanish Civil War with all its bloody violence, incredible strident anti-clericalism and whole scale diminishment of the human person.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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