Does the Church need Art?

Introduction to Theology of the Arts – Day Seminar
The Priory Institute, St. Mary’s Priory Tallaght
Saturday, 26th May 2018 – 10.30am to 4.30pm
Hour Break for Lunch
€40 – to include light lunch and tea/coffee
Does the Church need Art?
Works of art have an extraordinary power to communicate.
From the early days of Christianity, the arts have been used
as a means to communicate the truths of the Christian faith
“in colours, shapes, words and sounds”. The Church’s
promotion of the arts has long been recognised as an
integral part of her preaching mission. Based on Pope John
Paul II’s question “Does the Church need art?” the study
day will examine the Church’s official teaching on the
primary function of Christian art, and explore how the
Christian faith has been expressed in a variety of artistic
Facilitator –
Michael Dunleavy OP is a member of the Irish Dominican
Province. He studied theology at the Dominican House of
Studies, Tallaght and the Angelicum University, Rome.
Michael has always had a keen interest in music and the
arts; and, in his Dominican ministry, has preached
retreats and presented conferences on the theme of the
beauty of the Christian faith as portrayed in masterpieces of
art and masterworks of music. Michael spent 9 years in
Rome at the Irish Dominican Community of San Clemente
undertaking the roles of prior and bursar. The exceptional
beauty of the Basilica of San Clemente, situated within the
cultural and art-historical milieu of the city of Rome, was an
inspiration for Michael to pursue further studies in the arts.
He was awarded a BA (Hons) in Art History and Music
from the Open University, Milton Keynes, UK. At present,
Michael lives with the Dominican Community at San
Domenico di Fiesole, Italy, and is currently completing a
doctoral dissertation on the Dominican artist Fra Angelico,
titled “Epiphanies of Beauty: Music Iconography and its
Spiritual Meaning in Selected Paintings of Fra Angelico”.