Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Vatican taps U.S. University for Franciscan perspectives on beauty

Steubenville, Mar. 07, 2006 (CNA) -

Ohio’s small Franciscan University of Steubenville has announced its unique contribution to an upcoming Vatican meeting which will explore the meaning and role of beauty in faith and culture.

Officials from the school said that Paul Cardinal Poupard of the Pontifical Council for Culture asked the University to present a preparatory paper on beauty from the Franciscan perspective, which they sent to Rome in January.

The Pontifical Council is scheduled to convene for their dicastery meeting later this month.

Dr. Max Bonilla, vice president for Academic Affairs at the University called the opportunity a "tremendous honor," adding that “It is unusual and special that the University would be asked by the Vatican to contribute a paper for their work.”

School officials noted that the paper discusses the Franciscan understanding of the effect of beauty on the human person who, they say, imitates Christ “the ultimate expression of beauty.”

The various professors who contributed to the work looked at perspectives ranging from the beauty of the liturgy, as well as beauty in art, religious life, education, and even the mathematical ordering of the cosmos.

In addition to examining the relevance of St. Francis’s teachings today, the paper looks at the political and ethical implications of beauty for the human person.

Franciscan University’s document will be among numerous others which may be incorporated into a larger Vatican document following the dicastery meeting.

Following the Pontifical Council‘s 2004 Plenary Assembly, Cardinal Poupard called for a “reawakening the sense of beauty,” stressing “its capacity to reflect the splendor of the truth in the heart of society: the truth about the human being and the truth about God.”

In this light, Dr. Bonilla said that "The University is interested in the transformation of culture to strengthen and enhance the culture of life. For us, it was very pleasing to participate in the work of the council with a small contribution."

Original Story: Catholic News Agency

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