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A media Pope

· Pius XII, protagonist at the International Catholic Film Festival ·

Pope Pius XII was the absolute protagonist of the International Catholic Film Festival, “ Mirabile Dictu ” which opened May 17th in Rome and runs through May 21st at the Auditorium della Conciliazione. The Vatican Film Library paid homage with three documentaries from its archives. The first film shows the Conclave and election of Pius XII in 1939 and the preparations leading up to the election of Eugenio Pacelli. In this film of splendid shots, the camera enters into the Sistine Chapel to film the preparation of the Chapel for voting, visits the tailor where the new Pontiff’s clothes and shoes are being made, and catches many of the small curiosities behind Vatican walls that occur during such a historically unique event.

The second film is entitled, Pastor Angelicus , from 1942. It was commissioned by Pius XII out of a strong desire to show himself close to the faithful during the difficult time of World War II. For the first and only time in the history of cinema, a film was created starring a living Pope; a Pope with a strong sense for the media, able to take advantage of every means of communication to spread the message of Christian love. The film was a huge success in Italy and abroad.

Finally, Guerra alla Guerra (War on war), an anti-war documentary made just after the war using exceptional images of the conflict. Opening with the admonition of Pope Pius XII to avoid war, the film shows Pope Pacelli’s commitment to aiding victims and to bring those nations involved to dialogue. The images, sometimes crude, aim to show the folly of war, without victors or victory. The film leaves one with a sense of the horror at the conflict and the unheard cry of the Pope.

The film festival, “ Mirabile Dictu ” – curated by Lia Marabini with the patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture – has enriched its program with this day dedicated to Pius XII; a program which is already filled with producers, directors, films, tv series, and documentaries which promote universal moral values and positive models. The Awards Ceremony will take place Thursday, May 19.

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St. Peter’s Square

Aug. 22, 2019

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