It was with sadness that I learned of the death on Saturday of Fr Michael Morris OP after an illness. For many years he has been a great advocate for beauty in sacred art and the culture, who could talk about anything from traditional Christian iconography to Hollywood movie posters. Many will know of his writing through his monthly art reviews in the Magnificat magazine.
I met him first in 2001 when I turned up at his office in Berkeley, California, looking for help and advice about transforming Catholic culture. I was a complete unkown who had read John Paul II’s Letter to Artists and had set off for America armed with a few poorly formed ideas and plenty of passion, but very little else. He was kind enough to take the time to listen to this odd stranger hammering on his door out of the blue, and offered encouragement and wise advice. He was also very amusing.
We had been in touch ever since and I saw him only 10 days ago. Although obviously suffering, he still just wanted to talk about art and a course he was planning to teach for the DSPT, the Dominican School in Berkeley next year; and to introduce me to an artist friend of his. The program at the GTU in Berkeley, Religion and the Arts, which he devoted so much time to is known internationally.
He will be missed by many.