History teaches that the Church needs art and that art has its staunchest ally in the Church. Their mutual relationship is based on a basic tenet of faith, which holds that the eternal word of God became flesh, thus giving the highest form of religious approval to the realm of the visible. This is the belief which informs the current 'rediscovery' of painting in religion; in this context, we must ask ourselves how painting could be re-introduced into the Christian experience. With that issue in mind, the present article argues the need for a new synthesis of word and image, a change in the perspective on art, which would take account of man's participation in the mystery of creation, and the inclusion of art in the spiritual experience of individual Christians, especially in prayer and the community of the faithful. The article also points to possible dangers, especially the risk that the value of church art will be reduced to the mere status of a cultural asset.
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