What happened to Catholic writing and art?

A sharp critique from Dana Gioia, interviewed by the Catholic World Report:


The Catholic Church has historically been both a patron and inspiration for the arts.  It would be impossible to discuss the growth of the arts in the Western world without constant reference to the Church.  Artists have also—until recently—been drawn to Catholicism for its sacramental vision of the world and its rich tradition of ritual, symbol, and liturgy.  This long relationship broke down in the twentieth century, and then collapsed further after Vatican II when so much of the Church defined itself mostly in terms of social action.  But man does not live by bread alone.  When the Church gave up its mission of inspiring through beauty, so much of its activity became merely functional—not quite ugly, but barren, perfunctory, and abstract.  Artists went elsewhere.  In the process both the Church and the arts were diminished.

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