.- Following a screening yesterday of the new film, “Karol, A Man Who Became Pope”, Pope Benedict XVI decried Nazism and communism, saying that “We have the duty to remind ourselves and others…what forms of unprecedented violence can be reached by scorn for human beings and violation of their rights.” The film, which is based on a script written by Italian journalist Gian Franco Svidercoschi, spans the life of the late John Paul II up until his election as Holy Father.
The late Pope experienced first hand the horrors of Nazism, growing up in World War II-ravaged Poland, and fought through the first part of his papacy to abolish communism.
Pope Benedict, who delivered an address after the showing, noted that the first half of the film "highlighted what happened in Poland under Nazi occupation," and referred to the "repression of the Polish people and the genocide of the Jews.”
“These were atrocious crimes”, he said, “which demonstrate all the evil contained in Nazi ideology. Shaken by so much pain and so much violence, the young Karol decided to transform his own life, responding to the divine call to the priesthood."
The Holy Father recalled scenes in the film which, "in their crudity, give rise to an instinctive feeling of horror in viewers, bringing them to reflect on the depths of iniquity that can be hidden in the human soul.”
“At the same time,” he noted, “evoking such aberrations cannot but give rise in all right-thinking people to a commitment to do all they can to ensure that such acts of inhuman barbarity are never repeated again."
The Pope said that, "May 8, 1945 marked the end of that immense tragedy that sowed destruction and death in Europe and the world at a level never known before. ... Every time a totalitarian ideology crushes man underfoot, all humanity is seriously threatened.”
"Memories”, he added, “must not pale with the passing of time, rather they should remain as a strict lesson for our own and future generations. We have the duty to remind ourselves and others, especially the young, what forms of unprecedented violence can be reached by scorn for human beings and violation of their rights."
The Pope reflected on the “providential divine plan…that on the Chair of Peter a Polish Pope was succeeded by a citizen of Germany, where the Nazi regime affirmed itself with particular virulence, before attacking its neighbors, in particular Poland?”
“Both these Popes”, he said, “in their youth - though on different sides and in different situations - were forced to experience the barbarism of the Second World War and the senseless violence of man against man, of peoples against peoples."
Benedict XVI said that, "nothing can improve in the world, if evil is not overcome; and evil can be overcome only through forgiveness.”
“May the shared and sincere condemnation of Nazism and of atheist Communism”, he urged, “serve as a commitment for everyone in building reconciliation and peace on the basis of forgiveness."