Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Artists and Theology of the Body

Below is an excerpt from an interview of Ann Slattery, of Stabat Mater Prayer Apostolate whose mission is to support artists primarily by praying for them. I came across this a while ago and since starting this blog have linked to this interview but I reread it recently and wanted to bring it to the forefront because of its importance.

(emphasis mine)

4. Part of your mission is to spread an understanding of the Theology of the Body through the arts. Why is the Theology of the Body important and relevant for artists? How can they incorporate and spread the principles and ideas outlined in TOB?

We live in a visual world. All of us are bombarded with hundreds, even thousands, of images on a daily basis. We process huge amounts of information through websites, email, television, and movies. The way we digest information has become so graphic. You want to know how to change out a flat tire? Look it up on YouTube. And, of course, we all know that many, many images rampant in our culture are trivial, demeaning to the true nature of human sexuality, and even blasphemous. That's why we think that Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body needs to be widely understood, especially by up-and-coming generations. And who better to communicate it to this image-saturated culture than artists? Artists who grasp this teaching are best equipped to spread it, because they can present it immediately and profoundly. It's a real challenge, and I am not sure how they will do it—I am not an artist—but I know that they can and will. It is not necessary to get a theology degree to realize the beauty of this teaching and the impact it is beginning to have on the world. In the Middle Ages, people learned the Faith primarily through the teachings presented in art (stained glass windows, statues, the cathedrals themselves). Today, we will see a turnabout in our culture, from one of death to one of life, when we begin to see (literally see) the revolutionary implication of the pope's teaching. He has so eloquently taught what it means to be human! Incidentally, we are offering this apostolate in thanksgiving for the life of John Paul II on earth and in anticipation of his eventual canonization.

For the entire interview go here.

Right there Ms. Slattery expresses exactly what has been compelling me ever since I first came across TOB, to communicate it through art. Another thing she touched upon which is also very much on my heart is for a generation of artists with a grasp of TOB to RISE UP and communicate the truth of the human person through their art. Artists have a critical role in bringing about a transformation in our culture, from a culture of death to a culture of life. A major reason I started this blog was so that others who have a call to communicate TOB through art can find me and we could mutually support each other-and I know there are others as I have come across some of them already. Who else does this resonate with? I want to hear from you, us TOB artists NEED each other. This is not to exclude those who are not artistically inclined, your contributions of exchange of ideas and prayer are indispensable. On this note Ann Slattery, who is not an artist herself, mentions that the invitation is extended to everyone to support and help bring about this artistic cultural renewal. If you want to learn more how to become a part of Stabat Mater Prayer Apostolate, go to the link. Ms. Slattery, in our one conversation thus far has been immensely helpful to me personally and I know she would be very encouraged to hear from others enthusiastic about what she's trying to get off the ground.


  1. I'm going to share this on my art blog but will post date the post a few weeks from now when I plan to be away. I would invite you to write a little blog article for us to extend your invitation for others to find you to our readers, members of and others. Just wanted to mention though that I am seeing big lines across my keyboard after reading your white print on black ground. that's a bit hard on the eyes. Many thanks- Paula

  2. Thanks, I was thinking the same thing the other day. This white on gray is much more reader friendly. Could you clarify a bit about what you would like me to write and where to submit it to? Thanks.