PREACHING at the Pon tifical High Mass to celebrate the opening of the Edinburgh Festival on Sunday, Fr. John Archibald said: "We live in a world of breathless, inexorable change.
"Standards are constantly changing, every value is questioned, including the existence of God and the value of Christian morality. The artist is left to his own resources: he has to find his own personal way of expressing himself with no guidelines from a stable society."
The artist was "forced to be a visionary, whether he is able for it or not," Fr. Archibald recognised "a lot of healthy idealism for the future", but said: "The most dangerous of all visionaries is the one with the limited view, who cannot see the full consequences of his ideals."
This being the opening of the Edinburgh Festival, he said, it was not difficult to guess what sort of a visionary this would be: "The visionary who condemns all censorship in the name of art and freedom, but refuses to see that pornography is promoted in the name of art and freedom. It is successful not because it is artistic, or because of free human choice, but because of the driving force of animal curiosity."
Fr. Archibald said: "More than ever before, the artist nowadays has to be a man of responsibility as well as vision. He must be responsible to the society he is trying to influence because one day he will be responsible for the society he has helped to create."
The Pontifical High Mass was offered by Cardinal Gray in St. Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh.