The Beauty of the Holiness and the Holiness of the Beauty: Art, Sanctity, and the Truth of Catholicism.
John Saward
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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