Cinema Seen as "Spiritual Testament" for Future Generations

Archbishop Foley Highlights Responsibility of Film Professionals

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The realm of movies reflects "our legacy to future generations," says a Vatican official who pointed out the great responsibility that film professionals bear.



Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, expressed his ideas when he addressed the congress "The Ten Commandments in the Cinematographic Culture of the Third Millennium."

The two-day congress which ended today was organized by the pontifical councils for culture and for social communications, and the Vatican Film Library, at the University of the Holy Cross.

The congress paralleled the celebration in Rome of the Tertio Millennio festival, which is studying the spiritual values of film production.

Archbishop Foley presided over the working sessions during the first day of the congress. In his address he emphasized the "sense of responsibility for all those who act in the cinematographic sector, as films are our legacy to future generation; they are our spiritual testament."

He said the congress "invites us all to address the Ten Commandments, with the incontrovertible wisdom that characterizes them and makes them current and indispensable for coexistence among men, based on respect and the sacred character of life."

According to the American archbishop, "when reference is made to universal values, it is impossible not to refer to the Ten Commandments," just as "when reference is made to the cinema, it is impossible to forget that it is one of the powerful means of social communication, a privileged voice that reaches every person and that has the power to condition his options and way of thinking."

For this reason, "the use of all the means and of the cinema, in particular, requires great responsibility, because in communicating distorted, mistaken or false contents, one runs the risk of disorienting the spectator," he stressed.

"The truth, the dignity of the human person, and the common good should be the foundation on which to begin to make the cinema a lively instrument in contemporary social communication," the archbishop added.

For his part, Monsignor Enrique Planas, director of the Vatican Film Library, emphasized the "communicative force" of films.

He explained that "the cinema can contribute to make those values emerge that belong to all, but that every day must be taught and cultivated again. Pictures can realize this miracle."