Fr. Grunow: “There Will Be No Great Christian Art Without Sacrifice”

Fr. Grunow: “There Will Be No Great Christian Art Without Sacrifice”

Father Steven Grunow on What Happened to Catholic Art?

“It seems to me that it is not merely a matter or money, for monetary patronage alone cannot change this situation. The real problem I think (and this is hard to say) is that the depth and profundity of the unique Christian narrative has been positioned not so much as a source of creativity or inspiration, but as ideology.

This often expresses itself in an emphasis on moralizing in Christian storytelling rather than an emphasis on the revelatory or the Incarnational.  The impression left with viewer when moralizing is central to the narrative is that one is being corrected, rather than inspired; one is being introduced to ideology rather than finding a route of access to the transcendent.   Creativity and inspiration produce great art.  Ideology produces propaganda.

The Christian narrative, densely textured and radiantly humanistic, produced Chartres Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel, some the greatest examples of visual storytelling that humanity has to offer, but the Church has yet to produce great art in the cinematic form and style?! Why is this the case? Christians should not evade responsibility for this discrepancy by directing attention to factors external to the Church as the reason, but should look at ourselves and consider what we have done and failed to do…

There will be no great Christian art without sacrifice.  My question is this: What sacrifice are you willing to make so that the Church can do more than just conserve its great artistic patrimony, but also to support and utilize the creative potential of humanity to proclaim, represent and teach the Christian narrative- the revelation of God in Christ, a revelation that is ancient and forever new.

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