The title of this post is the same as the title of emails I’ve received from time to time encouraging me to come see a new independent movie that speaks to the values of pro-lifers.
In a post last month I criticized the artistic merit of the latest of such films, the Erwin Brothers’ October Baby. Steven Greydanus, film critic for the National Catholic Register, found more artistic merit in the film than I did, but was still fairly critical of it. In the comments to his critique, Steven addressed the concerns of one writer who found the film very moving. “Maybe my standards for watching a movie are low,” said this writer, “but I’m not necessarily looking for the best cinematic and scripted movie, but a movie with a story that moves and inspires me.” In reply Steven wrote:
I understand that many people aren’t necessarily looking for the best cinematic or scripted movie, and that’s okay, to a point. At the same time, if you look at Church teaching on film, the Church considers it important to seek out and recognize films for their technical excellence (see Inter Mirifica) and cultural achievement (see Communio et Progressio).
I agree with Steven that all art made by Christians, not just film, has to aim higher than simply pleasing those who already share our views. It has to manifest technical excellence and achieve a high level of cultural attainment.
I bring all this up again in order to underscore the chief concern of this blog: the artistic renewal of the arts among Christians, especially Catholics. Much more attention to craft is necessary if we are ever going to see such a renewal (see my post, “Can This Be the Catholic Moment in the Arts?”). Attention also could be paid to new initiatives in the arts, such as the ones I made in my recent post on Catholic radio (“Catholic Radio: A Plea”).
But as CE editor Harold Fickett pointed out in a comment to my recent and related post on independent book publishing (“Book Publishing 9 and 3/4”), financial support is also needed in order for Catholic artists to successfully pursue their craft.
A woman named Teresa thoughtfully replied to Harold’s comment, urging those who desire to see a renaissance in the Catholic arts to begin, on this Good Friday, to pray for the following intention: that angel investors and benefactors come forward to support Catholic artists and their ideas and initiatives, so that a new springtime in the arts will be realized.
I’m going to take up that suggestion by beginning today a Rosary Novena for the Catholic arts, linking it to the Divine Mercy Novena.
Will you join me?