Monday, August 13, 2007


Being a priest is being an artist in way. The mass is so beautiful, so mysterious.... as Paul Claudel once said, the most beautiful and august gestures ever confided to man were done so in the mass. In the mass, space and time ceases, and heaven and earth unite... just like an artist when he is painting, or a musician, when he is performing... he is outside of himself, and becomes one with the act of creation, and one with god. So being at the same time a priest and artist is not that far off.


Fr. Glenn Spencer said...

Dear Fr. Gordon:
I loved your old website, but I really love this one! Thanks for putting up the links to artists and thanks for providing us with excellent articles on art and the Catholic Religion. This is much needed and I'd be very interested to read artists speak to the issue of being a Catholic and an artist. I suppose they would say they do that best by their art, but Flannery O'Connor wrote a very useful set of essays titled "Mystery and Manners" where she delved into the issues of being a Catholic Novelist in the South. It has been a while since I read her essays, but if I recall correctly she didn’t put much stock in the notion of a “Catholic novelist.” She basically said that a writer could only write what he could write about which is what he knew and not what he didn’t know. The other thing for her and writing was the matter of learning the skill from good writers. She took up painting to develop her ability to see so she could be a better writer. I thought her matter-of-fact approach to her art was interesting given that she is the most Christ-obsessed fiction writer I’ve ever read. I was also wondering how many of the painters you know of cross over into writing fiction or poetry?
Fr. Glenn

Anonymous said...

As I recall, Fr. Glenn is right about Ms. O'Conner. Fr. Gordon, I too would be interested to know about painter-novelists; and, what type of poetry, fiction do you enjoy? I have been interested in the art of the written word for about as long as I can remember. I am trying to broaden my philosophy of art to include painting (e.g., reading Kandinsky, and some neo-thomists such as Maritain). Keep the posts coming.

J. Gordon Anderson said...

That is amazing. I never knew that about O'Connor. I will admit that not reading lots of fiction is one of major shortcomings. I have never read anything by her, but I always knew a bit about her... yet not this.

I will try to think of artist who cross over. There have been many modern musician/writers who have also had artistic careers, or let making art play a big role in their lives (e.g. John Lennon, David Byrnn, etc.). But I am sure there are many, many more. I know there are more in the past. But alas, I am headed off for vacation, so I do not have time to look now! But promise I will do research on it more when I get back.

I want to read Maritain on art. A few years back I helped a friend establish an RC art's organization, and it was based heavily on the philosophy or art of Maritain. When I get back I will also post some, Andrew, on the few novelists and poets that I enjoy. But it is woefully inadequate! I need to catch up in that area. I was always much more into music, and found that friends who knew a lot about writers and such, often knew little about composers, music, and music history. Funny.

Are you into music, Andrew?

Anonymous said...

you've got it: I love literature; I am, sadly, not into music. I know what I like, but knowledge of principles, which leads to refinement of taste, I have none.