Uncreation photo courtesy Pontifical Council for Culture (http://bit.ly/10lOLTr)

Vatican revives its ancient patronage of the arts

VATICAN CITY (RNS) For centuries, popes sponsored the work of artists such as Michelangelo, Raffaello or Bernini, but the marriage between art and faith became estranged in modern times. With a new exhibit at the prestigious Venice Biennial art festival, the Vatican hopes to revive church patronage of the arts.

Preparations for the Conclave are underway in the Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel plays a key role in electing a new pope

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The tradition of voting for the new pontiff in the Sistine Chapel dates back to the Renaissance, but the location of the voting didn’t become a fixed feature of the conclaves until the 19th century — and only with John Paul II’s rules did the Sistine Chapel become the official theater of papal elections.

RNS photo courtesy Wikimedia/Public Domain (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michelangelo,_giudizio_universale,_dettagli_26.jpg)

Episcopal priest under scrutiny for nude photos

ST. LOUIS (RNS) It will be difficult for critics to compare Michelangelo's nudes with the ones photographed by the Rev. John Blair. Just after Episcopal leaders launched a sexual misconduct investigation of Blair, he lost his job as a hospital chaplain. By Tim Townsend.