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Art and Culture Commission

"A new dialogue so that art becomes again the document of the Spirit"

The Art and Culture Commission has lived a fecund period of reflection on the questions inherent in the arts as concerns their function in the context of the new evangelization, with particular reference to the animation of the great Jubilee of the year 2000. Looking at the current situation, one must note the opposite tendencies in the basic intentions which guide the preparation for the Holy Year. On one hand, one notes the extreme subjectivity of the proposals due to the drop in ecclesial knowledge and conscience. On the other, one breathes the conciliar wind, ecumenism, interreligious dialogue.

Unfortunately, there is an attempt, with negative aspects, to commercialize this significant step of Christian culture, and at the same time there are the "rationes seminales" of a repression of spiritual vigor. To effectively impose the role of world animation on art it is necessary to help the artists pass from motivations of economic convenience to those founded on spiritual value, from the subjectivism of personal idealization to an ecclesial vision, from the profane or secularized art of the post-modern period to the sacred Christian art of the hour of the new evangelization.

Among the hundreds of projects which have arrived, some are rather original in how they correspond to the intention of the Pope for the great Jubilee of the year 2000, and are able to give an artistic trapping to proposed contents. The Holy Year can become, therefore, an occasion of creative stimulation for artists, but there is also the danger that mediocre authors who have come forward with insistence will drive away the artists of greater importance. The occasion of the Jubilee can be an incentive, in this sense, for a fresh taking up of the beautiful arts, an exit from subjectivism, a greater understanding of language, a clearer exposition of contents. The Church is called to dialogue so that their works become again documents of the Spirit.

Among the various initiatives of general interest, illustrated by His Excellency Monsignor Francesco Marchisano, president of the Commission, is the hypothesis to promote a campaign of restitution, temporary and definitive, to the cult and to the natural destinaries of the treasures of Christian art now in the hands of private people, with the realization of shows and the reopening of churches destined for other uses, to re-present even the hidden treasures of sacred Christian art in Rome.