Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Really Effective Apologia

January 24th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

The Frari Triptych, Giovanni Bellini, 1488, in the sacristy of the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice, Italy. Madonna and Child with Sts. Nicholas and Paul (left) and Benedict and Peter (right)

(Click on picture for larger image)

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to Vittorio Messori, The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, (San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 1985)

“The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely the saints the Church has produced and the art which has grown in her womb. Better witness is borne to the Lord by the splendor of holiness and art which have arisen in communities of believers… If the Church is to continue to transform and humanize the world, how can she dispense with beauty in her liturgies, that beauty which is so closely linked with love and with the radiance of the Resurrection? No. Christians must not be too easily satisfied. They must make their Church into a place where beauty -and hence truth- is at home.”


As quoted in The Beauty of Faith: Using Christian Art to Spread the Good News, Jem Sullivan, (Huntington, Our Sunday Visitor Pbulishing Division 2009) 95, 96



2 Responses to “Really Effective Apologia”

  1. Jim R says:

    My mother-in-law who is Presbyterian once said to me that the music and art created by the Catholic Church is, to her, the surest sign that God’s grace is alive in Catholicism. It was a comment so at odds with the 70’s self-hating Catholicism (the art, music and beauty were an embarrassment!) taught in my Catholic High school as to be noteworthy.

    Apparently she has good company in that assessment.

  2. Mike says:

    Jim R,

    If the trailers (here and here) are any indication, Father Robert Baron’s 10 part Catholicism series, due out in September, looks like it will showcase Catholic art and architecture along side an exciting view of the contemporary Church.

    Soon you can discover the rich heritage of the Catholic Church in an epic media experience. Word on Fire Catholic Ministries offers a vision of the Catholic Faith, which has never before been seen. This vision seeks to explore, through a global journey, the living culture of the Catholic Church. From the lands of the Bible, to the great shrines of Europe, to the shores and heartland of America, to the mysteries of Asia, to the rich landscapes of Latin America, to the beating heart of Africa – and beyond, witness the passion and glory of the faith that claims over a billion of the earth’s people as its own.

    I do not expect it to offer anywhere near the same level of detail as Bernie does in his posts, but I still expect a rich overview of the Church’s artistic and architectural patrimony.

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