LETTER TO ARTISTS: Pope John Paul II, 1999

None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colours and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you.

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An address by Pope Pius XII to a group of Italian artists received in audience on April 8, 1952.

1. With deep satisfaction, beloved sons and daughters, promoters of the figurative arts, We welcome your devout homage and that of your families, by reason of your coming to Us on the occasion of the sixth Roman quadrennial meeting, and We express to you Our pleasure for the remembrance-gift which you are leaving with Us.

2. How delightful your presence is to Us is shown by the tradition itself of the Roman pontificate. As the heir of universal culture it has never ceased to appreciate art, to surround itself with works of art, to make art, within due limits, the collaborator of its divine mission, preserving and elevating its destiny, which is to guide the soul to God.