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Friday, October 26, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Vatican Museums in collaboration with the Polish television station TBA have produced a documentary film entitled "Art and Faith. 'Via Pulchtitudinis'", marking the 500th anniversary of the conclusion of the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Yesterday evening Benedict XVI attended a screening of the film in the Synod Hall and, at the end of the showing, pronounced some brief remarks in which he noted that, although this was not the first time the Vatican Museums had sought to highlight the bond between art and faith using the artistic heritage of the pontifical galleries, this documentary was special because it coincided with the Year of Faith.

"For many people", he said, "a visit to the Vatican Museums during their stay in Rome represents their deepest and sometimes only contact with the Holy See. Therefore, is it a good opportunity to learn about the Christian message. We could say that the artistic heritage of Vatican City constitutes a kind of great 'parable' through which the Pope speaks to men and women from all over the world - and therefore from many cultural and religious backgrounds - people who perchance never read a papal address or homily. ... The language of art is a language of parables, possessing a special kind of universal openness. The 'Via Pulchtitudinis' can open people’s minds and hearts to the eternal, raising them to the heights of God.

"I greatly appreciated the fact that the film makes repeated reference to the efforts of Roman Pontiffs to conserve and cherish artistic heritage, and to their efforts in modern times to renew the Church’s dialogue with artists", the Holy Father added. "The collection of modern religious art in the Vatican Museums is living proof of the fruitfulness of that dialogue. Indeed, ... the entire great structure of the Vatican Museums ... possesses a dimension which we could define as 'evangelising'".

On this subject the Holy Father recalled "the great sensibility to the dialogue between art and faith" shown by Blessed John Paul II. "Art and faith are two words which have accompanied the Church and the Holy See for 2000 years, two words which, today too, we must adopt in our efforts to announce the Gospel of God, Who is infinite Beauty and Love, to the men and women of our time".

Finally, the Pope expressed the hope that the documentary film would "arouse in many people the desire for a better understanding of that faith which is capable of inspiring so many works of art".

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