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Cardinal Dolan on the ‘Catholic Imagination’

May 08, 2018. Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York had an unusual Monday morning on May 7, 2018: he spoke at a press conference for the opening of a fashion show.  Of course, this isn’t just any fashion show, it is the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s exhibition, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, opens May 10, 2018, at The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters in New York City.  The exhibit will run until October 8, 2018.

The exhibition— features a dialogue between fashion and medieval art from The Met collection to examine fashion’s ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism.

Serving as the cornerstone of the exhibition, papal robes and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside The Vatican, will be on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Fashions from the early twentieth century to the present will be shown in the Byzantine and medieval galleries, part of the Robert Lehman Wing, and at The Met Cloisters.

Following are Cardinal’s remarks from the Monday press conference, which he shared on his blog:

What’s the Church doing here?

What is the Cardinal-Archbishop of New York doing here?

Well, because the Church and “the Catholic imagination,” are all about truth, goodness, and beauty…

That’s why we have great schools… to teach the truth;

That’s why we love and serve the poor – to do good;

That’s why we’re into art, poetry, music, liturgy, and, yes, even fashion… to thank God for beauty; 

I guess that’s why Steve and Christine Schwarzman, cherished friends so generous to our inner-city schools, Catholic Charities, and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and I, are here… because of the true, the good, the beautiful.

In the “Catholic imagination,” the True, the Good, and the Beautiful have a name: Jesus Christ, who revealed Himself as “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

In the “Catholic imagination,” the truth, goodness, and beauty of God is reflected all over… even in fashion.  The world is shot through with His glory.

Thank you to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute for arranging this exhibition.  Thanks, Dr. Weiss, Dr. Bolton, Ms. Wintour, and Steve and Christine, for your leadership.

Thanks to the Vatican for its historic cooperation.

I’m honored to be here.