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Path of Peter a wakeup call to everyone

VATICAN (SE): An open air exhibition called The Path to Peter opened at the Vatican on February 6.

The exhibition has been put together as a collaborative effort by nine different countries and features items ranging from the fourth to the fifth centuries, the Vatican Information Service reported.

At a press conference in the Vatican media office on February 5, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, said, “We want to narrate the path of Peter in art.”

He added that the why of the exhibition is important in order to appreciate its importance.

“Faith isn’t just the commitment of believers. It expresses humanity’s need to look within in order to understand the desire for God that is inscribed on the heart of each person,” he explained.

He said that St. Peter is a good topic for this purpose, as he is a relatable personality.

“Peter is the image of humanity that seeks and that finds and that, after having found, follows. Unfortunately, he is also weak betrays, but he still knows how to ask forgiveness,” the archbishop noted.

“Moved by love, by a unique and sweeping experience, he leaves everything behind in order to proclaim the mystery of Christ’s resurrection to the world. It is a true journey of faith, without rest, that artists have captured… in many works that witness to its beauty,” he went on.

He added that the current cultural moment is strongly characterised by contradictory movements.

“On the one hand it seems that there is a general feeling of fatigue and indifference that even affects our faith. It makes it seem limited to a small group of persons, as if it no longer held any appeal to the new generations,” he continued.

“On the other hand, there is the excessive enthusiasm for scientific progress and new lifestyles, as if these were the solutions to today’s serious problems. Not infrequently in this case, we come to the claim that it is good to limit faith’s sphere to the private, denying its social or cultural effect,” Archbishop Fisichella reflected.

He said that it is easy to see that the desire of people to enjoy the beauty of nature and works of art is constantly increasing, which reflects that people are still looking for something that is more important and more profound, because the spirit is moved by the desire to know and to admire.

He explained that this means that people are still seeking to contemplate a beauty that is not transient, because it has created culture and extends through the centuries, always arousing wonder and marvel for the genius of the artist and for what they have known how to create, motivated by their faith and their interpretive abilities.

“It is precisely to reinforce this desire and to give voice to the nostalgia for God, often latent in many people that we have decided to organise this exhibition as a journey through the centuries, to come to know one of the people who has always stimulated the minds of artists to try to understand his mystery and give it voice,” he continued.

“This exhibition is a path for growing in faith, but it is also a challenge to recognise the necessity of believing as a response to the question of meaning that life poses,” he said. 

Archbishop Fisichella explained that all people look at art in a different way, but it is the same beauty that expresses the call to listen to the message.

“This is one of the reasons why we thought that the exhibit shouldn’t take place in a religious space, but in an open space, where all might have access without prejudice, moved only by the interest in art. True art… knows how to challenge us and it is good not to force people’s hand with too many words, so as not to run the risk of trivialising its message,” he concluded.

The exhibition will run until May 1.

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