Antoni Gaudí's beatification

On Good Friday 1992, the popular preacher Fr. Ignasi Segarra (Albesa 1929 - Barcelona 2003) made the Sermon on the Seven Words in Riudoms. He illustrated it with sentences of Gaudí who headed each chapter of a recently published biography. We came from visit the Mas de la Calderera, where the architect had learned the first lessons of his great teacher, Nature. The priest down from the pulpit even radiant for the touch of the Holy Spirit and said: "It’s necessary to beatify Gaudí." Quickly a group of lay came ready. We proposed to the Archbishop of Barcelona to promote the beatification. Did not care, because leading clerics and lay intellectuals were against, and even some would say that we were clowns and we spent a joke. Downstairs the Archbishop, we made the Associació pro Beatificació d'Antoni Gaudí, civil entity registered with the Catalan governement. It was providential, because it is evident that Gaudí was not a priest, a monk or a sexton. Besides, nobody can accuse the Catalan Chruch to mount the beatification for economic reasons or tourism; nor to the Association, independent and living of donations. Gaudí, then, will be beatified by people, the same people who, while intellectuals of the Catalan artistic movement called “Noucentisme” and the anticlericals reduced to the role of the madman, a nut morbid, gave the money to raise his "Cathedral of the Poors", and perhaps Don Anton likes it that way. To launch the beatification, we follow McLuhan: "The Medium is the Message" and "we live in a global village." We edit a prayer card in Catalan, English, Spanish and Japanese. It's called The Architect of God, which is like Gaudí had been called after his death in 1926. Because our idea was not original (as in the case of Gaudí is a sin). The architect had died with a reputation for holiness and was to be beatified. But come the fall of the monarchy, religious persecution, war, the general Franco, the Vatican II and the after council. There weren’t "the times" of the beatification. This is what the Holy Spirit had revealed to Dr. Ignasi Segarra at Mas de la Calderera to announce that, beginning with his beloved Riudoms: It is now "time" of the beatification of Gaudi! Is the period of the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Indeed, Gaudi is an exemplary embodiment of the idea of Pope Polish patriot and artist of that faith is only fully experienced when transformed into culture and culture is the nation. And it is the opposite of relativism, reported by the theologian Pope as the enemy of Christianity today: Gaudí repeated that "Beauty is the splendor of Truth", believing in the Truth, absolute and independent of those who seek it, and that their work artist was precisely to shape the finite matter until the infinite light of Truth could be seen in it by all other men. Gaudí is the archetype of the "alliance between the Gospel and Art" advocated by John Paul II in his Letter to Artists (1999), which develops the Message to the Artists of the end of Vatican II (1965). Benedict XVI rich it in his Speech in the Sistine Chapel (2009) with the thesis that the way of Beauty is a way of faith, theological research, you just find the whole in the fragment, the Infinite in the finite. A thesis that could have given him by Gaudí, dedicated to it in each of their journeys and found the three infinite persons of the Holy Trinity in the deep geometry of nature, in the hyperbolic paraboloid. McLuhan was a genius of mass communication and it worked. The response of Christian people of Catalonia was enthusiastic: "good riddance." The reaction of the Catholic media, from Italy to the Philippines, to Poland, Ireland, Quebec, Mexico, etc .- was also unanimous: Gaudí is a universal saint, like Francis of Assisi. And the media coverage was and is surprising: major newspapers, televisions, radios and agencies in the world give us big spaces, with a positive treatment. We find that Gaudí is, as Luther King or Mother Teresa, one of the most well known Christian and admired by contemporary global society. All are healthy, good news, that if the Catholics have a guy like Gaudí, put it in the window and take out shine. Then we were joined by Protestants. Gaudí's architecture, like Bach’s music, up to God to Catholics and Lutherans alike. It is logical, because the architect wanted to live personally as one of the first Christians and wanted with his work to show progressive industrial society the early Church. Later, the pilgrimage of the reclining Buddha temple of Nanzoin (Japan) to the tomb of Antoni Gaudi, which carried a large donation for the beatification, sandwiched between Buddhist faithful, show us that godly believers of non-Christian religions believe that Gaudi lived in heaven and worship their way. Some of them, the Sagrada Família, which is the manifestation of the soul of Gaudí, has attracted to Jesus and become Christians and have been baptized. Our goal was the Vatican, the decision center of the Church, including what affects Catalan Church. Introducing the cardinals and monsignors we meet at lobbies two arguments. First. The contemporary world has not been built by the Catholics. Freud, Beatles, Picasso, Ford, Gandhi, Nietzsche, Lincoln, Stalin, Mussolini, etc. were not Catholic. Many people want to lock up Roman Catholic Church in the past, in a museum. However, some Catholics have contributed brilliantly to the construction of the contemporary. For example, Pasteur and the founders of the European Union. And Gaudí, at the forefront of the arts, that when he was accused of being anachronistic raising the last of the cathedrals, he replied: "It may be the first of the second stage." Second. Roman Catholic Church has benefited from the best works of art in every generation, but has not estimated by their authors, as if he accepted that it was their turn to live "like an artist”. In the catalog of saints of the Catholic Church needed ostensibly a great artist of world renown. John Paul II wanted to repair this, and rummaging through the Vatican Museums, beatified Fra Angelico in 1982 and named him patron of artists. Our candidate was late, but it is a number one, like Michelangelo. In addition, Fra Angelico is of the fifteenth century, but Gaudí from twentieth. And, especially, Fra Angelico is a holy friar who painted; but Gaudí's only artist: is an artist saint. Until one day the Pope said: "This Gaudí, is a layman?". And the canonical process of beatification opened on April 12, 2000. The beatification of Gaudí contribute to the drawing of the History of Catalonia. Catalan culture has two summits: The Mediterranean expansion of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, whose last wave we live. Gaudí stated that "the temple is the only thing worthy to represent the feelings of a people." What was Santa Maria del Mar and the Cathedral of Mallorca, both by the sea and one daughter of the other, are for the current Catalonia the church of the Colònia Güell and Sagrada Família, in a factory and in the urban expansion the capital. However, glossing the wise architect, cultures and nations are evaluated, summarized and understood from outside through its "living temples": those who embody and are better known internationally. The best of the Mediterranean expansion embodies Blessed Ramon Llull, and best of the Renaissance, Antoni Gaudí. With his beatification will get a beautiful historical symmetry: the two high points of the Catalan nation in world history will be identified internationally for two blessed. An interesting singularity. For the emerging generation of Catalan people that want to recuperate an independent State, different of Spain, the beatification of Gaudi is a godsend. And, for Catalans with less religion or not religion? The architect never expelled them from the Sagrada Família or Park Guell, and his concept of Catalonia. On the contrary: he crafted for everyone. Love of Catalonia, love of art, love of work well done and the love of the poor were to Gaudí areas of shared efforts and dialogue; were areas for living universal brotherhood, his utopian ideal more sense. He himself did not deal with religion in their teens to late thirties, when, in a mature and autonomous decision with full knowledge of the alternatives, chose the Beatitudes of Jesus, looking to stop the media from to achieve that in the same Sermon of the Mountain the Master states: good example, chastity, simplicity, love of enemies, charity, prayer, fasting, poverty, priority of works on the words and neglect in Providence. Then, say of himself, referring to his previous experience: "The man without religion is a spiritual decline, a maimed man." Gaudí did not arrive to "Blessed are the meek", since he got a handle on his temper. After sixty years, free of family obligations, was delivered to the Sagrada Família project with the same mysticism with others founded a religious institution or mission a new country. God did well: he was awarded a much higher creativity of his youth and, seventy-four years, the death that he had asked: in the hospital for the poor, collected and accompanied by Christian charity.

Josep Maria Tarragona, November 1, 2010

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Last update: 06/05/2016