Pope Benedict XVI had the opportunity to view the latest in a recent
string of films exploring the life of the late John Paul II who died
one year ago Sunday. The Holy Father viewed the Italian-made "Karol, un
Papa rimasto uomo" or “Karol, a Pope Who Remained a Man,” along with
several other Vatican representatives in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.
Directed by Italian Giacomo Battiato, the new made for television film recounts the second part of the life of John Paul II. The director had explored his young life in an earlier film, "Karol un uomo diventato Papa" or, “Karol, a Man Who Became Pope.”
That film was screened by Pope Benedict and other Vatican officials in May of 2005, shortly after John Paul II’s death.
Following yesterday’s screeing, the Pontiff expressed his thanks to Battiato and his collaborators, including the actor Piotr Adamczyk who plays the role of John Paul II. He said that they displayed both "knowledge and talent" in presenting "the central moments of the apostolic ministry of my venerated predecessor."
"With this second episode of the film,” Benedict said, “the story of the earthly life of the beloved Pontiff comes to an end," and “Once again we heard the opening appeal of his pontificate, which sounded out so often down the years: 'Open the doors to Christ! Do not be afraid!'“
He pointed out that the film “showed us a Pope immersed in contact with God and, for this very reason, ever sensitive to the expectations of mankind”; it “caused us to reconsider his apostolic journeys all over the world; it gave us the opportunity to relive his meetings with so many people, with the great ones of the earth and with ordinary citizens, with illustrious figures and with unknown individuals.”
The Holy Father said that among these figures, “special mention should be made of his embrace with Mother Teresa of Calcutta,” who he said was “united to John Paul II by an intimate spiritual harmony.”
He also noted that the film allowed viewers to be “Horrified as if we were present,” as “we reheard the shots of the tragic attempt on his life in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981.”
"From all this," the Pope concluded, "emerged the figure of a tireless prophet of hope and peace, who traveled the roads of the earth to communicate the Gospel to everyone.”
His vibrant words returned to our minds, condemning totalitarian regimes, murderous violence and war; words full of consolation and hope expressing his closeness to the relatives of victims of conflict and dramatic terrorist attacks, such as that against the Twin Towers in New York; courageous words of denunciation towards consumer society and hedonistic culture which aims to create a purely material wellbeing that cannot satisfy the profound needs of the human heart."