Beauty in Education
This is a blog by Stratford Caldecott for secondspring.co.uk. He wrote extensively on the role of beauty in education before his death in 2014. He is the author of Beauty for Truth’s Sake . See also his Author’s talk on the theme of the book at the University of Notre Dame
From the Catholic Bishops of Alberta and NWT, Seeking truth, goodness & beauty
By helping our students look upon reality through the lens of divine revelation, we lead them to see the beautiful in what a purely human gaze often perceives as unattractive, namely, in the faces of persons who are poor, sick, suffering and alone. Catholic education strives to make a difference in the lives of individuals and in the wider community by challenging students to recognize the inherent beauty and worth of every person, and to serve others, especially the poor, with compassion and justice. By embracing the call to serve, the active response of our students to anyone in need holds strong transformative potential for a world seeking justice, peace and unity.
From the Gospel of Joy
167. Every form of catechesis would do well to attend to the “way of beauty” (via pulchritudinis). Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendour and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties. Every expression of true beauty can thus be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus. This has nothing to do with fostering an aesthetic relativism which would downplay the inseparable bond between truth, goodness and beauty, but rather a renewed esteem for beauty as a means of touching the human heart and enabling the truth and goodness of the Risen Christ to radiate within it. If, as Saint Augustine says, we love only that which is beautiful, the incarnate Son, as the revelation of infinite beauty, is supremely lovable and draws us to himself with bonds of love. So a formation in the via pulchritudinis ought to be part of our effort to pass on the faith. Each particular Church should encourage the use of the arts in evangelization, building on the treasures of the past but also drawing upon the wide variety of contemporary expressions so as to transmit the faith in a new “language of parables”. We must be bold enough to discover new signs and new symbols, new flesh to embody and communicate the word, and different forms of beauty which are valued in different cultural settings, including those unconventional modes of beauty which may mean little to the evangelizers, yet prove particularly attractive for others. – Pope Francis, The Gospel of Joy
VIA PULCHRITUDINIS, an event of a unique kind, representing the exclusive union – in perfect balancing – between exhibition and cultural event.
Four days dedicated to in-depth cultural analysis on key themes: sacred music, spaces and sacred places, painting, sculptures and glass walls; four days also focused on professional education and business opportunities. February 2018 & November 2020
Four days dedicated to sacred art, professional accommodation and cultural tourism, right in the heart of the city that is the heart of Christianity, Rome.
It will be a path through which rediscovery the evangelizing role of beauty, of art, where what is beautiful becomes instrument of knowledge and salvation, the opening through which man may discern the delicate presence of the Divine.
Via Pulchritudinis The Institute Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará Cloisters in New York City
By committing ourselves and those in our apostolate to an experience of beauty in the liturgy, through choral groups, ecclesiastical embroidery and value for the fine arts in museums, we wish to help develop a “taste” for the beautiful whereby we may become participants in the creative work of God and thus find Him and honor Him…even in the midst of war and poverty.
Dudley Plunkett The Via Pulchritudinis: Beauty and the New Evangelisation
Dudley Plunkett, senior academic tutor at the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham, offers a reflection on beauty as a path to God in the light of the New Evangelisation.
“The practice of goodness is accompanied by spontaneous spiritual joy and moral beauty. Likewise, truth carries with it the joy and splendour of spiritual beauty. Truth is beautiful in itself” (CCC, 2500).
My hope for all of you who are artists is that you will have an especially intense experience of creative inspiration. May the beauty which you pass on to generations still to come be such that it will stir them to wonder! Faced with the sacredness of life and of the human person, and before the marvels of the universe, wonder is the only appropriate attitude. …
Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence. It is an invitation to savour life and to dream of the future. That is why the beauty of created things can never fully satisfy. It stirs that hidden nostalgia for God which a lover of beauty like Saint Augustine could express in incomparable terms: “Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you!”.
Artists of the world, may your many different paths all lead to that infinite Ocean of beauty where wonder becomes awe, exhilaration, unspeakable joy.
The via pulchritudinis, the way of beauty, is a privileged and fascinating path on which to approach the Mystery of God. What is the beauty that writers, poets, musicians, and artists contemplate and express in their language other than the reflection of the splendour of the eternal Word made flesh?