Pope Francis: Art which transmits truth and beauty gives joy

Pope Francis meets with the artists of the Christmas Concert Dec 12 2020 Credit Vatican Media Pope Francis meets with the artists of the Christmas Concert Dec. 12, 2020. | Vatican Media.

When truth and beauty are transmitted in art, it fills the heart with joy and hope, Pope Francis told a group of performers on Saturday.

"Dear artists, in a special way you are 'guardians of beauty in our world,'" he said Dec. 12, quoting St. Pope Paul VI's "Message to Artists."

"Yours is a lofty and demanding calling, one that requires 'pure and dispassionate hands' capable of transmitting truth and beauty," the pope continued. "For these instil joy in human hearts and are, in fact, 'a precious fruit that endures through time, unites generations and makes them share in a sense of wonder.'"

Pope Francis spoke about the ability of art to instill joy and hope during a meeting with music artists taking part in the 28th edition of the Christmas Concert in the Vatican.

International pop, rock, soul, gospel, and opera voices are performing in the benefit concert Dec. 12, which will be recorded in an auditorium near the Vatican and broadcast in Italy on Christmas Eve. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year the performance will be recorded without a live audience.

The 2020 concert is fundraising for the Scholas Occurrentes Foundation and Don Bosco Missions.

Pope Francis thanked the music artists for their "spirit of solidarity" in supporting the benefit concert.

"This year, the somewhat dimmed Christmas lights invite us to keep in mind and to pray for all those suffering from the pandemic," he said.

According to Francis, there are three "movements" of artistic creation: The first is experiencing the world through the senses and being struck with wonder and amazement, and the second movement "touches the depths of our heart and soul."

In the third movement, he said, "the perception and contemplation of beauty generates a sense of hope that can light up our world."

"Creation amazes us by its magnificence and variety, while at the same time making us realize, in the face of that grandeur, our own place in the world. Artists know this," the pope stated.

He again referred to the "Message to Artists," given on Dec. 8, 1965, in which St. Pope Paul VI said artists are "in love with beauty" and that the world "needs beauty in order not to sink into despair."

"Today, as always, that beauty appears to us in the lowliness of the Christmas crèche," Francis said. "Today, as always, we celebrate that beauty with hearts full of hope."

"Amid the anxiety provoked by the pandemic, your creativity can be a source of light," he encouraged the artists.

The crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has "made even denser the 'dark clouds over a closed world,' and this might seem to obscure the light of the divine, the eternal. Let us not yield to that illusion," he urged, "but seek the light of Christmas, which dispels the darkness of sorrow and pain."

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