Last evening, Pope Benedict was treated to a special screening of the new film, “Pope John Paul II" which, he said, renewed in him a sense of gratitude to God for giving the Church a Pope of “such exalted human and spiritual stature.”
The screening was held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, and attended by numerous Vatican and media representatives, as well as actor Jon Voight, who played the Pope in the new miniseries.
The film was produced by the Italian Lux Vide company, and by RAI (Italian State Television) in collaboration American broadcast company, CBS. The miniseries will air in the U.S. on December 4th and 7th on nationwide CBS affiliates.
Following the screening, Pope Benedict expressed his thanks to Ettore Bernabei, president of Lux Vide, and to others contributed to the film‘s making.
"Watching this film," said the Holy Father, "has renewed in me and, I think, in everyone who had the gift of knowing (John Paul II), a sense of profound gratitude to God for having given the Church and the world a Pope of such an exalted human and spiritual stature.”
The film opens with the May 13, 1981 assassination attempt on the late Pope in St. Peter’s Square, and continues, following his influential pontificate and vast world travels.
Pope Benedict said that, "over and above any specific evaluation, I feel the film constitutes further proof ... of the love people hold for Pope John Paul, and of their great desire to remember him, to see him again, to feel him close.”
“Beyond its superficial and emotive aspects,” the he continued, “this phenomenon clearly has an intimate spiritual dimension, which we here in the Vatican see every day watching the multitudes of pilgrims who come to pray, or just to pay rapid homage, at his tomb in the Vatican Grottoes.”
“That affective and spiritual bond with John Paul II, which became even closer during the period of his final illness and death, was not interrupted,” he told the crowd.
“It has never been broken,” he emphasized, “because it is a bond between souls, between the great soul of the Pope and the souls of innumerable believers; between his fatherly heart and the hearts of countless men and women of good will who recognized in him a friend, and a defender of man, of truth, of justice, of freedom and of peace.”
“All over the world, many people admired in him above all the coherent and generous witness to God."