The Sistine Chapel: Before and After

 

 

The restoration of the Sistine Chapel began in 1980 and ended in 1994. After this immense work, no one thought that Michelangelo’s masterpiece could be seen any better, until now.
With the new lighting system installed in the Chapel, visitors can enjoy the paintings in a whole new light. Before the installation, some details of the creation of Adam were barely recognizable. Now they can clearly be seen with vivid colors.
Before, the blue color of the Final Judgement served merely as a background. Now, the celestial tone intensifies the scene portrayed.
The light that emanates from Christ is another example. Thanks to the 7,000 LED light points, all the details and figures from this work of art gain life and expression.
Michelangelo finished painting the Sistine Chapel on October 31st, 1541. Those who have visited the chapel for over 500 years can say that his masterpiece looks as if it was painted yesterday.

Cardinal says pope’s speech on evolution was misinterpreted

He said that the Catholic Church did not deviate from the teachings on origin of the universe.

Cardinal Mar George Alencherry

Kochi: A day after Pope Francis declared that theories of evolution and Big Bang were real, Syro-Malabar Church head Cardinal Mar George Alencherry has come out with a statement that Pope’s speech on the ‘origin of universe’ was misinterpreted.

Cardinal Alencherry, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said that the Catholic Church did not deviate from the teachings on origin of the universe.

“Catholic Church teaches that God is the creator of the universe and man is created with a soul by God. Neither the theories on evolution nor ‘Big Bang’ stands against the teachings of the Church as far as the faithful are concerned,” the cardinal said.

Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences the Pope was clarifying that God should not be considered as a magician. He just explained that God created living and non-living beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that God gave to each one so that they would reach their fulfillment,” the prelate pointed out.

“Though many people attempted to interpret ‘evolution’ at different times, there is no doubt that the origin of universe and man are from God,” the Cardinal said.

He further said that the intervention of God cannot be ignored even if the ‘Origin of Universe’ is scientifically explained and proved. Evolution and Big Bang are theories which have to be proved, the statement said.

Source: New Indian Express

Sistine chapel dazzles after technological makeover

Famous frescoes get lighting upgrade, state of the art ventilation system.

 

Journalists look at frescoes inside the Sistine Chapel, now illuminated by 7,000 specifically designed LED lamps, during a press visit on Wednesday

Vatican City: High above the altar in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, the halo around Jesus Christ’s head in Michelangelo’s famous frescoes shines with a brighter glow, thanks to a revolutionary new lighting system.

Angels, Sybils and prophets in blues, pinks and golds, once lost in the gloom, are brought into sharp relief by 7,000 LED lamps designed specifically for the prized chapel, where red-hatted cardinals have elected new popes since the 15th century.

A state of the art ventilation system has also been installed to protect the frescoes from humidity, enabling up to 2,000 people at a time to visit one of the world’s top tourist attractions, which draws over six million people a year.

The venture cost some 1.9 billion euros (about US$2.3 billion), with 870,000 euros provided by the European Union and the rest donated to the Vatican in expertise, technology and man hours by the various companies taking part in the LED4ART project.

“The LEDs have a color spectrum specifically designed with the pigmentation of the frescos in mind to ensure the light faithfully reflects the original colors, as the artists intended,” said Marco Frascarolo, who works for Fabertechnica, one of the companies behind the new system.

“As each LED can be tuned to a different color, we spent long nights in the chapel with the Vatican Museum curators, trying out different mixes of red, blues, whites… trying to get it just right,” he said during a private tour for journalists of the chapel late Wednesday.

While eight color samples are usually taken in an environment to create a LED system, 276 areas of the Renaissance paintings were analyzed, he said.

The sunlight, which had streamed through the windows for centuries was shut out in the 1980s, when conservators realized ultraviolet radiation was damaging the masterpieces, causing the Last Judgement and other frescoes which cover the chapel’s ceiling and walls to fade.

The lighting system put in place at the time was criticized for casting an unnatural glow and throwing some of the lesser known works by artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Perugino into shadow.

A whole new light

“The LEDs create a much better viewing experience because they throw light on aspects of the frescoes which were overlooked before,” Frascarolo said.

The lights were vigorously tested to make sure they wouldn’t damage the works, with pigments of the frescoes subjected to the LEDs in a laboratory at a high intensity which showed what effect the new system would have over 50 years.

Protecting the artworks was also the driving factor behind the new ventilation system, installed by US firm Carrier, which uses three cameras to monitor the number of people in the chapel and regulate the temperature and humidity.

“The previous system was only capable of regulating the air for up to 700 people. With this system the room can hold a maximum of 2,000 people without damaging the artworks,” said Michel Grabon, director of Carrier’s AdvanTE3C Solutions Center.

“We know the amount of CO2 and humidity released by each visitor and can make adjustments accordingly, lowering the temperature or raising it if necessary to compensate for cold spells,” he said, adding that he can monitor the chapel from his home computer or mobile phone.

Both systems are also highly energy efficient, meaning the Vatican is expected to cut output for ventilation by around 60 percent and by up to 90 percent for the lights — shaving a vast amount off its bills.

Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museums, said the chapel “contains the most extraordinary works ever conceived by the human mind” and the new installations aimed to honor the 450th anniversary of the artist’s death by preserving and re-illuminating his creations.

The Museums said they were also exploring a project for next year whereby visitors craning their necks to see the famous depiction of Adam and God reaching towards each other to touch fingers could be given disposable “intelligent glasses” like Google Glass for a whole new 3D-view.

Source: AFP/UCAN

Pope at Audience: The Church is not Limited to Bishops and Priests…..

‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”……….

In short, Clergy and Laity, together make the church..But Is it true in case of Bombay Archdiocese? Laity has no say in Church Activities, except the chosen ones, by Church Authorities….in order to nip any kind of opposition….

GREG 

Pope Francis among pilgrims at the Wednesday Audience – AFP

(Vatican Radio)  “Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”.This was the message at the heart of Pope Francis’ general audience Wednesday, which he dedicated to the relationship between the visible and spiritual reality of the Church.Listen to the report by Emer McCarthy:

The Pope observed that the Church represents the Body of Jesus, and that its visible dimension- that is the structures and people who make up the Church – are at the service of its spiritual reality, witnessing to God’s love for all mankind.

He underlined that the Church visible is not just the priests, bishops or Popes.  It is made up of Baptized men and women all over the world who carry out immeasurable acts of love. Families who are firm in the faith, parents who give their all to transmit the faith to their children, the sick who offer their suffering to the Lord.

Pope Francis noted that often as a Church we experience our fragility and our limitations, which rightly  provoke profound displeasure, especially when we give bad example and become  a source of scandal, “because people go by our witness” as Christians.

“Through her Sacraments and her witness to Christ in our world, the Church seeks to proclaim and bring God’s merciful love to all, particularly the poor and those in need”.

Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s catechesis [Original text: Italian]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
in the previous catechesis we highlighted how the Church is spiritual in nature: it is the Body of Christ, built in the Holy Spirit. When we refer to the Church, however, our thoughts turn immediately to our communities, our parishes, our diocese, to the structures in which we usually gather together and, of course, of the component and institutional figures which guide and govern it. This is the visible reality of the Church. We must ask, then: Are they two different things or the One Church? And, if it is the One Church, how can we understand the relationship between its visible and spiritual reality?

1. First, when we speak of the visible reality of the Church we said there are two- the visible reality which we see and the spiritual one –  we must not think only of the Pope, Bishops, priests and consecrated persons. The visible reality of the Church is made ​​up of the many baptized brothers and sisters around the world who believe, hope and love. [Moving from the prepared text] “Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”.

Of all those who follow the Lord Jesus and, in His name, are close to the poor and the suffering, trying to offer some relief, comfort and peace. [Moving from the prepared text ] “All of those who do these things, which the Lord sent us to do are the Church”.  Thus we understand that the visible reality of the Church cannot be measured, it cannot be known in all its fullness: how can one know of all the good that is done? [Moving from the prepared text ] “So many acts of love, so much faithfulness in families, so much work in educating children, to carry on, to transmit the faith, so much suffering in the sick who offer their suffering to the Lord.  We cannot measure this! It is so great, so great!” How can one know of all the wonderful things that, through us, Christ is able to operate in the hearts and lives of each person? You see: the reality of the visible Church goes beyond our control, beyond our strength, and it is a mysterious reality because it comes from God.

2. To understand the relationship, in the Church, between her visible and spiritual reality, there is no other way but to look to Christ, whose Body is the Church and from which the Church is generated, in an act of infinite love . Even in Christ, in fact, through the mystery of the Incarnation, we recognize a human nature and a divine nature, united in the same person in a wonderful and indissoluble way. This applies in a similar manner to the Church. Just as in Christ, human nature serves the divine in accordance with the fulfillment of Salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible reality serve the spiritual reality of the Church. The Church, therefore, is also a mystery, in which what is not seen is more important than what is seen, and can only be recognized with the eyes of faith (cf. Const. Dogmatic Constitution. On the Church Lumen Gentium, 8).

3. In the case of the Church, however, we must ask ourselves: How can the visible reality can be at the service of the spiritual? Again, we can understand it by looking to Christ. [Moving from the prepared text ] “But Christ is the model and the Church is His Body, He is the model for all Christians, all of us! Look to Christ, you can’t go wrong!”. The Gospel of Luke tells how Jesus came to Nazareth, where he grew up, went into the synagogue and read, referring to himself, the passage from the prophet Isaiah where it is written:”The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free “(4,18-19). Look, how Christ used his humanity – because he was also a man –  to announce and carry out God’s plan of Redemption and Salvation, so it must be for the Church. Through its visible reality – everything we see – , the Sacraments and testimony – of all of us Christians –  it is called every day to draw closer to every person, starting with the poor, those who suffer and those who are marginalized, in order to continue to help all feel the compassionate and merciful gaze of Jesus.

Dear brothers and sisters, often as a Church we experience our fragility and our limitations, all of us, we all have them.  We are all sinners, no one can say I am not a sinner. And this fragility, these limitations, these our sins, it is right that these should provoke in us a profound displeasure, especially when we give bad example and we realize we are becoming a source of scandal. How often have we heard, in our neighborhoods: “That person there is always in Church but gossips about everyone, denigrates others – what a bad example! This is not Christian! This is a bad example.  So people say: ‘If this is a Christian,  I  prefer to be an atheist! Because people go by our witness”.

Then, let us ask for the gift of faith, so that we can understand how, despite our smallness and our poverty, the Lord has ​​ really made us means of grace and a visible sign of His love for all mankind. Yes, we can become a source of scandal but we can also be a source of hope through our lives our witness, just as Jesus wants! Thank you.

Below the English language summary of the catechesis.

Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catechesis on the Church, we have seen that the Church is a spiritual reality, the mystical Body of Christ. Yet we know that the Church is also a visible reality, expressed in our parishes and communities, and in her institutional structures. This visible reality is itself mysterious, for it embraces the countless and often hidden works of charity carried out by believers throughout the world. To understand the relationship between the visible and the spiritual dimensions of Christ’s Body, the Church, we need to look to Jesus himself, both God and man. Just as Christ’s humanity serves his divine mission of salvation, so too, with the eyes of faith, we can understand how the Church’s visible dimension is at the service of her deepest spiritual reality. Through her sacraments and her witness to Christ in our world, the Church seeks to proclaim and bring God’s merciful love to all, particularly the poor and those in need. Let us ask the Lord to enable us to grow in holiness and to be an ever more visible sign of his love for all mankind.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including the various groups from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Nigeria, India, Canada and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke joy and peace in the Lord Jesus. God bless you all!


(Emer McCarthy)

Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are right and God isn’t ‘a magician with a magic wand’

Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are right and God isn’t ‘a magician with a magic wand’

Pope Francis.

The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand,” Pope Francis has declared.Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

Francis explained that both scientific theories were not incompatible with the existence of a creator — arguing instead that they “require it”.

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said.

He added: “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfilment.

“The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it.

“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”


An artist’s concept of evolution of man. (Getty Images photo)

The Catholic Church has long had a reputation for being antiscience — most famously when Galileo faced the inquisition and was forced to retract his “heretic” theory that Earth revolved around Sun.

But Pope Francis’s comments were more in keeping with the progressive work of Pope Pius XII, who opened the door to the idea of evolution and actively welcomed the Big Bang theory. In 1996, John Paul II went further and suggested evolution was “more than a hypothesis” and “effectively proven fact”.

Yet more recently, Benedict XVI and his close advisers have apparently endorsed the idea that intelligent design underpins evolution — the idea that natural selection on its own is insufficient to explain the complexity of the world. In 2005, his close associate Cardinal Schoenborn wrote an article saying “evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense — an unguided, unplanned process — is not”.

Giovanni Bignami, a professor and president of Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics, told the Italian news agency Adnkronos: “The pope’s statement is significant. We are the direct descendents from the Big Bang that created the universe. Evolution came from creation.”


This Nasa illustration shows how astronomers believe the universe developed from the ‘Big Bang’ 13.7 billion years ago to today. They know very little about the Dark Ages from 380,000 to about 800 million years after the Big Bang, but are trying to find out. (Via Getty Images)

Giulio Giorello, professor of the philosophy of science at Milan’s University degli Studi, told reporters that he believed Francis was “trying to reduce the emotion of dispute or presumed disputes” with science.

Despite the huge gulf in theological stance between his tenure and that of his predecessor, Francis praised Benedict XVI as he unveiled a bronze bust of him at the academy’s headquarters in the Vatican Gardens.

“No one could ever say of him that study and science made him and his love for God and his neighbour wither,” Francis said, according to a translation by the Catholic News Service.

“On the contrary, knowledge, wisdom and prayer enlarged his heart and his spirit. Let us thank God for the gift that he gave the church and the world with the existence and the pontificate of Pope Benedict.”


The Catholic Church has long had a reputation for being antiscience — most famously when Galileo faced the inquisition and was forced to retract his “heretic” theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun. (Getty Images photo)

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