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‘Scuola di Atene’

Fr. Robert P. Imbelli, The Catholic Thing, April 6, 2023

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is the author of Rekindling the Christic Imagination: Theological Meditations on the New Evangelization (Liturgical Press).



The bishops of the United States have summoned Catholics to participate in a Eucharistic Revival. This initiative is due, in part, to reports of a significant decline in Catholics who believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Welcome and necessary as this undertaking is, I think it important to consider more closely two crucially related issues. First, what characterizes the cultural context in which our Eucharistic faith must be lived? Second, who is He whose Real Presence we profess and celebrate in the Sacrament He instituted on this day?

We can obtain some purchase on both these questions by considering two masterpieces of the early 1500s by the great Renaissance painter, Raphael. They have much to teach us. The paintings are the “School of Athens” and the “Disputation over the Sacrament” (the Disputà) which Raphael painted to decorate the Stanza della Segnatura in the Papal Palace. …

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