An artist's work is enhanced through contact with the divine, pope says

A musician plays guitar for Pope Francis during a meeting with Diakonia of Beauty, a French organization founded in 2012 to promote exchange between artists and the Catholic Church, at the Vatican Feb. 15, 2024. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) ─ Faith can help musicians, poets, sculptors, directors and other artists transmit truth and beauty to their audiences, Pope Francis said.

"Believing in God the creator can only encourage a being to surpass him- or herself, to project him- or herself into divine life through artistic inspiration," the pope said Feb. 15 during a meeting with representatives of the Diakonia of Beauty, a French organization founded in 2012 to promote exchange between artists and the Catholic Church.

"Beauty invites us to a different way of being in the world," he said. "It is about contemplation."

The Diakonia of Beauty organizes festivals throughout the year in France and abroad to showcase artists who place spirituality at the center of their work; the group also offers spiritual formation and financial support to artists.

The organization's festivals, concerts and shows are "a way to make the church's closeness to artists visible by entering into dialogue with their culture and lives, whether they are believers or not," Pope Francis said.

Since "the life of an artist is often marked by solitude, sometimes by depression and great internal suffering," the pope said the group's initiative of creating artist residencies around the world is particularly important.

"Your challenge is to bring out the beauty that is hidden in him or her, so that he or she in turn becomes an apostle of this beauty that generates life, hope and a thirst for happiness," the pope told the group.

Pope Francis said that humanity today, "shaken by violence of all kinds, by wars, by social crises," needs people "able to make us dream of a different, beautiful world."

Since art is a "very powerful means to transmit the message of nature's beauty, he said, it is a valuable way to "recreate the harmony between humankind and the environment."

"Major climate crises require us to review our habits and behaviors," the pope told them.

"Encountering the beauty of God allows us to restart, to begin again, on the journey toward more humane and more fraternal societies," Pope Francis said.



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