"The Italian bishops' conference has entrusted the illustration of the new Lectionary to thirty contemporary artists, with their styles. It's the first time that a liturgical book has been associated with modern images. An audacious undertaking . . ." Indeed, and absolutely idiotic. Have a look: Sandro Magister, "A Test of Courage: Have the Nativity Painted by an Abstract Artist" (www.chiesa, December 21, 2007).
The image reproduced to the left illustrates the healing of the man born blind, from chapter 9 of the Gospel of John: "One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see" (John 9:25). This is the page of the Gospels that will be read at all Latin rite Masses on the fourth Sunday of Lent next year.
There are eighty-seven full page illustrations like this in the three-volume lectionary. Archbishop Giuseppe Betori, secretary of the Italian bishops' conference, remarked on the new development thusly: "It is a courageous initiative. We want to resume the great tradition of the Church, which has been able to converse with art and figurative language in every era."
Courageous indeed. Right. Now if we could only commission someone from the John Cage or Arnold Schoenberg school of Music to help with the Mass settings. Ummm-hmmm. You know it.