Renowned author says art is effective way to evangelize

Photo by Veronica Novonty

Liam Fanning
Staff Writer

Art and literature can be used for evangelization, said a renowned Catholic writer and biographer to a packed audience in the Gentile Gallery Monday.

Joseph Pearce, director of book publishing at Augustine Institute and editor of the St. Austin Review, titled his talk “The Evangelizing Power of Beauty.”

Pearce said art and literature have the ability to bring people to Christ. He said God himself is an artist. If God wants to show himself to us, he uses stories, Pearce said.

“Stories are a powerful way of conveying truth,” he said.

Using the example of the parables in the Gospels, Pearce said God tells his most powerful lessons through stories. He said humans can express truth through art, referencing artists such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Jane Austen and Michelangelo.

True beauty, Pearce said, inspires one with the feeling “that it is good for us to be here.”

Speaking on the power of human art, Pearce said art is “sub-creation for the glory of God.” With art, man improves on God’s creation through the will of God.

Pearce spoke particularly on the relationship between beauty, truth and goodness, describing them as a trinity.

Beauty expresses truth, and, in turn, truth leads to good, he said. In this way, Pearce said, one can grow higher in virtue and closer to God.

Pearce said that there is beauty of emotions, such as love, which he described “as the most powerful defense of Christianity.”

Speaking on how much beauty there is in the world, Pearce said “there are many beautiful things I’ll never see – and I’m glad of it!”

Aaron Urbanczyk, who has a doctorate in English, introduced Pearce. Pearce lived in Steubenville for a time and was married at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in downtown Steubenville.

“The talk was a great experience,” freshman Mitchell Brecht said. “It was amazing to be here, and he was very knowledgeable.”

The talk was hosted by the Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS) Center for Art and Beauty and the FUS Chesterton Society.