Beauty, the Major Evangelizer: How Signs of the Sacred Point to the Ultimate Good, by Joseph Pronechen

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Sacre Coeur Basilica, Paris

The Church also realizes that, as an evangelizing force, ‘Beauty can save the soul.’

By Joseph Pronechen, National Catholic Register, 8/3/19

“The beautiful and the good, ultimately the beautiful and God, coincide,” said Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI while he was a cardinal, writing in The Spirit of the Liturgy.

In a sense, Benedict’s insight lays the groundwork for beauty being a great evangelizer, whether in the past or in our time. In fact, today’s Church recognizes the same power of beauty, and Catholics are mobilizing, in dioceses, schools and private organizations, as well as through the work of Catholic artists and other efforts, to bring the truth of beauty home to those outside the fold.

The Blessing of Beauty

Pope Benedict said in the cathedral of Bressanone in 2008, “I did once say that, to me, art and the saints are the greatest apologetic for our faith. … If we look at the saints, this great luminous trail on which God passed through history, we see that there truly is a force of good which resists the millennia. … Likewise, if we contemplate the beauties created by faith, they are simply, I would say, the living proof of faith. If I look at this beautiful cathedral — it is a living proclamation! It speaks to us itself, and on the basis of the cathedral’s beauty, we succeed in visibly proclaiming God, Christ and all his mysteries. … All the great works of art, cathedrals — the Gothic cathedrals and the splendid Baroque churches — they are all a luminous sign of God and therefore truly a manifestation, an epiphany of God.” ….