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“Cor ad Cor loquitur”. The certainty of Newman: conscience and reality

- Exhibition PAD. A1

Taking up the challenge of Benedict XVI who, in his visit to Britain, indicated Newman as a figure to look at, above all, for his modernity, the exhibition relates his life by means of the three conversions that characterized it, proposing a biographical and thematic journey, from which it emerges that consciousness was the moving force in Newman’s journey towards certainty of the truth (as he had written in his epitaph ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem) and that this journey also characterized his being an educator and a lover of beauty.
His first conversion was the discovery that God and the soul are real, and that the presence of God can be perceived with the same concreteness and certainty as that with which we perceive exterior realities, the objects in everyday life, the faces of friends. For the young Newman, it was a Copernican revolution: he came to realize that what really counts in life is not tangible reality, but the evident presence of God’s person, in such a way that the whole of existence becomes a dialogue between the human heart and God’s heart.
The second conversion brings the awareness that faith is not exhausted in a experience of intimistic dialogue with God, but becomes intelligence of reality. A faith that is not rooted in reality, that does not change the criteria with which man relates with the world, is in the end an illusion, and is unable to answer man’s deep desires. This leads to Newman’s untiring struggle against the dualism between “things” and “words” and the surprise that true dialogue between man and God is open to dialogue with other men, with the human heart.
Lastly, his conversion to Catholicism was the discovery that God decided to “get involved in human affairs” creating a real place of his presence which is the Catholic Church. In this living Body, Christ’s person becomes tangible: He is present in the communion among bothers in faith, He shines in the holiness of their lives, and He lets himself be touched in the sacraments. In the communion of the Church, the dialogue with God’s heart comes to coincide with the dialogue between human hearts.


Curators: Giuseppe Pezzini, Samuele Busetto, Paul Hitchings, Chris Morgan, Stefano Rebeggiani.
In collaboration with: Tristan Alonge, Beniamino Arnone, Beatrice Banfi, Alberto Carignano, Chiara Cesara, Lucia Conconi, Dionino Di Florio, Anthony Errington, Cachi Gomez, Marco Govetto, Chris Hack, Michael Hopwood, Silvia Imberti, Ian Ker, Amos Lawless, Gianluca Marcato, Laura Marchionni, Noel Murphy, Birmingham Oratory, Manuel Oriol, Chiara Pancheri, Javier Prades, Miguel Ruiz de Zarate, Ana de Santiago, Marco Sinisi, James Scoular, Roger Sylvester, Vincenzo Tudda, Stefano Utili, and John Waters.

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Travelling Exhibition

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