Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Renewing the Dialogue Between the Church and the Arts

Here was a basic outline for a talk I gave tonight in Cincinnati...


In his Letter to Artists (2000) Pope John Paul II called for “a renewal of that fruitful dialogue that used to exist between the Church and the Arts.”

Clearly, you cannot have dialogue without a forum, a message, and without a speaker. Our investments in Hollywood as Catholics should be geared to establishing and fostering all three of these.

A “forum” – The Church in Hollywood needs a place from which it could host ongoing dialogues with the creative people who set the global entertainment and media agenda. We need a site around which Catholics in the industry could gather to network, pray together and support each other. We need a chapel for the arts. We need a theater in which to host premieres of good work. We need a think-tank which could provide media with commentary on cultural topics. We need a training ground for artists and filmmakers to learn to integrate their life as believers wiuth their work as professionals.

A “message” – In order to have a dialogue, we need to have something relevant and valuable to say to Hollywood. The Church needs to commission her scholars, philosophers and ethicists to brood over the whole arena of art, storytelling and entertainment, so as to translate theological and Scriptural principles into useful guidelines for Hollywood creatives.

A “speaker” – We need to prepare apostles for Hollywood who can bring the presence of God into the entertainment industry. We need to provide spiritual and ethical formation to those Christians who are currently in the industry. We need to raise up articulate spokesman who can question and challenge Hollywood from within, in the network, study and agency sets and offices.

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