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A member of the Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts and Letters of the Virtuosi at the Pantheon in the private gallery in June 2022 (CNS/Paul Haring)

The aesthetic and artistic elements surrounding the liturgy must foster prayer and a sense of communion, Pope Francis said this week. Source: NCR Online.

“The space, light, acoustics, colours, images, symbols (and) liturgical furnishings constitute fundamental elements of that reality, that event, human and divine at the same time, which is precisely the liturgy,” he said in a written message to members of the pontifical academies.

The message was addressed to Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education and president of the coordinating council of the pontifical academies, which St John Paul II instituted along with the awards of the pontifical academies.

The message was read by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, during the academies’ 26th public session on Tuesday at the Pantheon in Rome. The gathering was organised by the Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts and Letters of the Virtuosi at the Pantheon.

Pope Francis said in his message, “We know well how important the celebratory setting is in fostering prayer and a sense of communion.”

The issue of sacred architecture and spaces “is as significant and timely as ever, since there is always a lively, and sometimes even heated, debate on proposals for the renewal of sacred architecture, which has the arduous task of creating, especially in new neighbourhoods, both on the outskirts of cities and in small towns, adequate spaces in which the Christian community can celebrate the holy liturgy with dignity according to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council,” he wrote.

He referred to his 2022 apostolic letter, Desiderio Desideravi (I have earnestly desired), which insisted that Catholics need to better understand the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council and the power and beauty of the Mass.


Liturgical elements must foster prayer, sense of communion, pope says (By Carol Glatz, CNS via NCR Online)