|Feminine Beauty in the Arts|
article is reprinted with permission from The Integrated Catholic
Life Magazine. Author Anna Mitchell is the news
director and anchor for the “Son Rise Morning Show” on
the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network. She wrote
the piece to highlight her participation in the pilgrimage for
women to Rome, “Feminine Beauty in the Arts,” in December,
2011, started by Catholic radio show host Teresa Tomeo. Anna also announces the new pilgrimage for men, “Prepared
to Lead,” featuring our own Fr. Mark Haydu LC.
Sometimes when you
find yourself on your heels fighting a tough battle, it’s
best to step back, regroup and join forces with your
allies. We are in that situation now, as our very
way of life – indeed, the very meaning of who
we are as women and men – is under attack.
We need to regroup, and I’d like to invite you
on a pilgrimage that I believe will help each of
us to do just that: More on that later.
As I reflect
on the news and topics I’ve covered over the summer,
I’m amazed by the number of attacks that God and
religion have endured in these past few months. Who would
have imagined, for example, that a large crowd of delegates
at a political convention would so vociferously oppose the phrase
“God-given talents” in their platform?
Then there is the continuing fight over
the HHS mandate. Remember that? Yeah, it’s still raging.
We all know
by now that we are not in a fight about
contraception itself, but we can acknowledge that it is one
of the means to which we entered the religious liberty
battle. I, for one, am not surprised that the use
of contraception is now so prevalent that our government has
decided to include it with necessities that should be provided
to all women for free: The world, full of concupiscence
since that first bite of the forbidden fruit, has slowly
but surely been normalizing all kinds of immoral behavior in
the name of relativism; and the ever-progressing power of technology
and the media has raised this to a fever pitch.
Hello, Fifty Shades of Grey. When did pornography become so
socially acceptable that moms are proud to profess their obsession
Then of course there are the battle we’re fighting against
a redefinition of marriage, and for the right to life
– or at the very least for the right to
not pay for abortions with our tax dollars.
All of this is
we boil it down, these issues arise because of a
growing distortion of what it means to be a human
person. These mistaken beliefs lead to mantras like, “What is
true for you may not be true for me,” and
“If it feels right to me, then it must be
right.” Wrong. As our Catholic faith teaches us, we are
called to something much greater than the pursuit of pleasure
and self-fulfillment. We all know the true source of fulfillment,
and it doesn’t come from within. He comes from heaven.
the popular culture would have you think otherwise. Most people
have framed the issue of the HHS mandate, for example,
as a “war on women” – the all-male hierarchy of
the Catholic Church, along with the male-dominated Republican caucuses in
Congress, are trying to suppress women by refusing to pay
for their birth control (I’m not sure when birth control
became a fundamental human right, but I digress).
The U.S. Bishops have
rightly been fighting this solely on the grounds of religious
freedom, but there is also room here for us to
reflect on how much we participate in the normalcy in
this world, as opposed to our universal call to holiness.
Rarely, if ever, does the fundamental idea surface that men
and women should be challenging each other to both higher
standards and greater holiness.
Our Call: Beauty and Leadership
While the rest of the
world chooses the laziness of filth and relativism, we know
there is a higher standard. The truth is that each
human person is meant to reflect the incomprehensible beauty of
God, so as to lead others to Him. What we
have been seeing in recent days is not beauty, and
it certainly is not leadership.
In an attempt to reclaim beauty, Teresa
Tomeo has put together a pilgrimage in collaboration with the
Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museums and Corporate
Travel, called “Feminine Beauty in the Arts” (also led by
Liz Lev, Janet Morana and me!). We hope this experience
will lead the women who join us to a realization
that, no matter what the world may value, true beauty
– the kind you find on the frescoes of churches
all across Rome – is a look that can only
be found in the face of someone who knows, loves
and serves the Lord.
In the interest of complementarity (and by popular
demand), Fr. Mark Haydu has inaugurated a companion pilgrimage for
men called “Preparing to Lead.” The world needs good men
to lead the rest of us to greater holiness, and
this pilgrimage seeks to inspire fathers and sons do just
will travel through Rome, Assisi and Nettuno, literally surrounded by
the Communion of Saints (both in sacred art, and well,
quite literally in the tombs). Could there be any place
better to band together in an effort to reclaim our
culture? The world is in desperate need of true beauty
and genuine leadership, and our Faith demands that we take
on this responsibility. These pilgrimages are a step in that
more information on the “Feminine Beauty in the Arts” and
“Preparing to Lead” pilgrimages, visit the Traveling with Teresa tab