Pope asks artists to fill the world with beauty

By  John Thavis, Catholic News Service
  • July 5, 2011

VATICAN CITY - Greeting 60 artists who were honoring him on the 60th anniversary of his priestly ordination, Pope Benedict XVI asked them to give witness to the beauty of truth and love.

Meeting the artists July 4 at their exhibit in the atrium of the Vatican audience hall, Pope Benedict said the church and artists must intensify their dialogue and collaboration to make the world "more human and more beautiful."

The Pontifical Council for Culture organized the homage by the 60 artists -- the vast majority of whom were from Italy because of time constraints and the cost of shipping art, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, council president, told Vatican Radio.

Pope Benedict celebrated the anniversary of his ordination June 29.

The commemorative exhibit, "The Splendor of Truth, the Beauty of Love," included sculpture, painting, photography, music, poetry, film and architecture.

Italian composer Ennio Morricone, famed for his film soundtracks, wrote a musical tribute called "The Cross" with music timed so the score itself is in the shape of a cross. The 103-year-old Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer sent his model for the new bell tower for the cathedral in Belo Horizonte. Also present was a work by the Italian sculptor Olivierio Rainaldi, whose statue of Pope John Paul II at Rome's main train station was panned by the public and by the Vatican newspaper.

U.S. painter Max Cole contributed a work titled "Saltflat." The African sculptor El Anatsui contributed a cape made out of candy wrappers and bottle caps.

Pope Benedict told the artists that real beauty comes from "the perfect harmony of truth and love" and that it elicits others' "admiration, marvel and true joy."

"The world in which we live needs the truth to shine brightly and not be obscured by lies or banality; it needs love which enflames and is not overwhelmed by pride and selfishness," the pope said.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.