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The Arts in General

How should a Catholic relate to art? The Church has always had an uneasy relationship with the arts. She recognizes the capacity of the arts to teach the Faithful. Christ, for example, taught principally through parables. However, Christ is the perfect teacher; fallen man is not. The influence of the Church in Western art is prominent including theater, which traces its origin to the Mass. Modern music began with Church music. The greatest art is connected to worship. Thus the Church seeks a sensible balance between the good that come from art and its risks. Art must do two things: educate the faithful and entertain. Art is also an act of creation, one of the characteristics of our Creator. The risk in art is that it can loose its focus to elevate. For example, when the Church approved or disapproved of movies through the Index, Hollywood paid close attention. The movie industry was compelled to produce excellent (and moral) productions to gain Church approval and financial success. Once the Church abandoned its proper role of judging movies, the quality of movies fell. The finest art is always Catholic in its ideology, even if it is not produced by a Catholic.

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