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Fr Francis Denton at the recent God and Beer event in Melbourne (Melbourne Catholic/Knights of the Southern Cross)

What has art to do with culture? Should the Church be concerned with art and beauty when there is so much else to attend to? And why does some modern art seem so ugly? These were some of the questions posed at a recent God and Beer event in Melbourne. Source: Melbourne Catholic.

God and Beer evenings are a regular event in Melbourne Archdiocese, hosted by the Knights of the Southern Cross Victoria.

Guest speaker, Fr Francis Denton, Parish Priest of St Patrick’s Lilydale and St Brigid’s Healesville, is a painter and iconographer, so the question of art’s place in human life and the Church is deeply personal to him, he said.

He also recognised that the role of art may seem like a “boutique” issue to some. Or people may think that “as Christians we shouldn’t be concerned with such superficial things as art. We should be more concerned with spiritual things, and moreover, beauty might even be a snare to entrap us or to distract us from spiritual priorities”.

Fr Denton argued that beauty is “absolutely necessary for authentic human flourishing”.

If you have a good and healthy culture, that will produce beautiful art, he said. And that beautiful art, that good, ennobling art, will feed back into the culture and elevate the culture.

Good art is able to lead people to the truth of God, to the reality of a transcendent beauty and to the dignity of who we have been created to be, Fr Denton said.


Making ‘oases of beauty’: Fr Francis Denton talks art, beauty and culture (Melbourne Catholic)