.- On August 15 the Hallmark Channel will debut a new Italian movie called, “Karol: The Story of a Man Who Became Pope,” which Pope John Paul II was able to view himself before he died. The movie, to be aired during primetime at 8pm (Eastern), is four hours long and is divided into two parts. Based on the book, “Stories of Karol: The Unknown Life of John Paul II,” by Gianfranco Svidercoschi, the film was shot at the Vatican and Krakow and narrates the life of the Holy Father from his involvement in the arts as a youth to his response to a priestly vocation, all the way to his election to the chair of Peter.
On June 12, Pope Benedict XVI issued a statement with his reaction to the movie. “The film presents scenes and episodes that, in their severity, awaken in the viewers an instinctive ‘turning away’ in horror and stimulates them to consider the abyss of iniquity that can be hidden in the human soul,” he said.
“At the same time, calling to the fore such aberrations revives in every right-minded person the duty to do what he or she can so that such inhuman barbarism never happens again…I…express living gratitude to those who wanted to offer me…the opportunity to view this moving film.”
Vatican press spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Pope John Paul II had seen the film in its entirety in a private viewing before his death and was “very impressed” with the portrayal and “appreciated the many scenes” from that period in his life.