Ignatius Insight Interview – Part 2

Ignatius Insight: In some of your essays you’ve lamented the state of the arts in the Church. What are the unique challenges faced by Catholic novelists, artists, and musicians? What can be done to revitalize the arts within the Church and within secular culture?

O’Brien: This question is so monumental I hesitate to reply with a short answer. I’ve written many essays on it, and even they, lengthy and packed with ideas as they were, only scraped the surface of the problem.

But let me say this at least: A new springtime of evangelization and hope is beginning for the Church and the world. It is strong, but still fragile enough that it can be swept away or severely reduced by many factors.

Continue reading

LETTER TO ARTISTS: Pope John Paul II, 1999

None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colours and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you.

Continue reading

THE FUNCTION OF ART: Pope Pius XII, 1952

An address by Pope Pius XII to a group of Italian artists received in audience on April 8, 1952.

1. With deep satisfaction, beloved sons and daughters, promoters of the figurative arts, We welcome your devout homage and that of your families, by reason of your coming to Us on the occasion of the sixth Roman quadrennial meeting, and We express to you Our pleasure for the remembrance-gift which you are leaving with Us.

2. How delightful your presence is to Us is shown by the tradition itself of the Roman pontificate. As the heir of universal culture it has never ceased to appreciate art, to surround itself with works of art, to make art, within due limits, the collaborator of its divine mission, preserving and elevating its destiny, which is to guide the soul to God.

Interview with Catholic World Report – Special Tolkien Issue

Interview with Catholic World Report, special Tolkien issue, December, 2001

There will be two highly publicized movies coming out in December, at roughly the same time: one of Harry Potter and the other of Tolkien. What do you make of that coincidence?

Michael O’Brien: That’s a good question. I do find that the timing of the release of these two movies is uncanny. At their foundation they represent two very different views of the struggle between good and evil.

Continue reading