The Beauty of the Holiness and the Holiness of the Beauty: Art, Sanctity, and
the Truth of Catholicism.
San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997.
Words from Cardinal Ratzinger set
the tone for this work: "The only effective apologia for Christianity are the
saints which it has produced and the art
which it has nurtured." Through an examination of the figures in Fra Angelico's
Altarpiece in the Church of San Marco,
Florence, Professor Saward examines
the meaning of holiness, beauty and art.
Each of the characters in the altarpiece
is analyzed: the angels, St. Francis,
St. Dominic, the Christ Child, the Virgin
Mary. St. Thomas Aquinas is not pictured in the altarpiece, but his theology
of beauty, characterized by clarity,
harmony, and wholeness, deeply
influenced the work of Fra Angelico.
Pastoral theology , the author insists,
must be a theology of beauty.
A second section deals with the relation of art to sanctity, morality, and the
Eucharist; the third section deals with
the beauty of Our Lady her faith, her
holiness, her person as the paradigm
for the renewal of Christian culture.
The last section dears with martyrdom,
the greatest expression of Christianity's
rejection of the world, and the great
works of art which martyrdom has
inspired. In this "primer of theological
beauty, " Professor Saward acknowledges the contributions which Hans
Urs von Balthasar and Pope John
Paul II have made to the restoration
of theological aesthetics.
--Thomas A. Thompson, S.M.
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