As he inaugurated the 9th International Congress on Cinema and Spirituality last evening, Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, expressed his hope that the spiritual potential of film could place itself at the service of mankind.
The Congress is being held in Rome's "Roma Tre" University from November 22nd to the 23rd.
Speaking about this year's theme, "the temptation to believe," Archbishop Foley said that submitting to this temptation "means starting along the road of the difficult search for Truth in a world such as today's which swings from religious indifference to religious extremism…”
“It means responding to God despite human incredulity,” he continued, “which can never be completely overcome, it means undertaking an act of courage, a leap of quality at the existential level."
The archbishop also noted that in various films, this theme, "the temptation to believe ... has given rise to a dialogue between human beings and God, a dialogue capable of stimulating spectators to profound reflection, bringing them face to face with their own intimate identity and with their fellow men."
He praised what he called "the great film directors," who "know how to tell the stories of men and women of all times and cultures to the men and women of today, echoing personal experiences of great intensity.”
“And”, he said, “it is precisely this valuable potential of cinema that leads me to hope that it will continue to place itself at the service of mankind, guiding man to a spiritual understanding of his own essence."
Archbishop Foley also pointed out that "cinema has traversed more than one hundred years," yet it "continues to amaze us, to make us think and question ourselves through the masterful art of those artists who have chosen to share their spiritual experience with the spectator."