Here is a nice piece based on an interview I gave to Catholic News Agency this past weekend at the Living the Catholic Faith Conference of the Archdiocese of Denver.
Lots of potentially inflammatory quotes here about how the Church, like the world, is currently awash in the banal, the ugly and the stupid. But here’s the heart of the talk:
She concluded her talk by presenting five things the Church can do to change the culture. First, she said the Church must identify those people who can represent us well to the wider culture. Media spokesmen are needed, orators are needed, and good singers are needed, she said.
Next, the Church needs to start training artists again. Those with talents for creating beautiful works of art need to be identified, encouraged, and taught, all within the Church. Nicolosi lamented that there is not one Catholic school among the top 20 film programs in the country – “there is no place in the Church to send your artist kid to be the best.”
Nicolosi’s third recommendation for Catholics to change the culture is to start treating the arts as important, by again becoming patrons of beauty. Singers and architects need to well-compensated for their efforts to produce beautiful works of art; “we used to be willing to pay for gorgeous art.”
Medieval inhabitants of Europe sacrificed to produce magnificent Cathedrals, giving a sign of their faith for the future. Our sign for the future, Nicolosi lamented, is the popular 1980s hymn, “Gather Us In.”
Fourth, we need to work with professionals in the media field. Poorly made Catholic media does not evangelize: “ugly, shoddy, embarrassing work is not orthodox Catholic – it’s another kind of lie,” she said.
“You’re saying one thing with your mouth, and something else with your style.” As when building a Church one hires construction professionals, not necessarily daily Mass-goers, the production of Catholic films must include professional filmmakers.
Finally, Nicolosi urged prayer for artistic geniuses – for “Mozarts.” We must “pray to God to send a new influx of beauty, and people who can send it into our midst.”
“Ask God to send a Mozart, and that we’ll recognize him,” she concluded. “Let us, for the sake of the people out there beyond our doors, make what John Paul II called the sacrifices that beauty requires.”