Always Be Positive Models, Pope Tells Entertainers

Jubilee of World of Entertainment Concludes

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2000 (
Well-known and not-so-well-known stars of the entertainment world gathered today around one-time actor John Paul II, to conclude their special Jubilee.

At 10 a.m., the Holy Father presided over a Mass, held in St. Peter´s Square, in celebration of the Jubilee of the World of Entertainment.

An emotional Alberto Sordi greeted the Pontiff in an improvised address, on behalf of all those present. Sordi recalled his days as an altar boy in Santa Maria in the Trastevere section of Rome.

The crowd delighted to be in the company of star names like Monica Vitti, Lino Banfi, Carlo Conti, Michele Mirabella, Gabriela Carlucci, Daniela Poggi, Dario Argento and Giuseppe Pambieri, among others.

During his homily, the Pope said: “The present Third Sunday of Advent is characterized by joy: the joy of one who waits for the One who ´is near,´ God-with-us, foretold by the prophets. (…) It is the joy of Christians, pilgrims in the world, who await with hope the glorious return of the One who stripped himself of his divine glory.”

“However, this joy that flows from divine grace is not a superficial and ephemeral joy,” the Pope explained. “It is a profound joy, rooted in the heart and capable of permeating the believer´s entire life. A joy that can coexist with difficulties, with trials, including — although it might seem paradoxical — pain and death.”

Addressing the participants directly, John Paul II said: “Many of you work to entertain the public in the creation and production of shows, which hope to give the opportunity for healthy relaxation and leisure. However, if Christian joy is placed in the proper sense on a more directly spiritual plane, it also embraces healthy recreation that does the body and spirit good.

“Therefore, society must be grateful to those who produce and transmit intelligent and relaxing programs, which are amusing but not alienating, humorous but not vulgar. To spread real joy can be a form of genuine social charity.”

The Pontiff went on to explain that the Church “has a specific message for you, dear workers of the world of entertainment. Always keep in mind the recipients of your work, their rights and legitimate expectations, so much the more so when it concerns individuals in formation. Do not allow yourselves to be conditioned by mere financial or ideological interests.

“Above all, those of you who are best known to the public, must be constantly aware of your responsibility. The people look to you, dear friends, with affection and interest. Always be positive and consistent models for them, capable of inspiring confidence, optimism and hope.”

He continued: “Indeed, because of this, you must be men and women of strong interiority, capable of recollection. God dwells in us, who is more intimate to us than we are to ourselves. If you know how to speak with him, you will be able to communicate better with your neighbor. If you have a lively sensitivity for good, truth and beauty, the products of your creativity, including the simplest, will be of good aesthetic and moral quality.

“The Church is close to you and counts on you! She hopes that you will transmit, through the cinema, television, radio, theater, circus and every form of entertainment, that evangelical ´leaven,´ thanks to which all of human reality develops its positive potentialities to the utmost.”

During the Angelus, the Holy Father addressed all those worldwide who are “itinerants, because you work in circuses, in amusement parks, or on the streets. Your travels today have become a pilgrimage and remind everyone that the Church is always a people on the way, without a fixed dwelling in this world.”

In addition, the Pope said: “Be yourselves a Christian community, taking healthy recreation, the values of faith, the family and solidarity everywhere. May the great icon-Cross here present, which during 2001 will accompany the Jubilee mission of circuses and amusement parks in Europe and America, always illuminate you and comfort you in moments of difficulty.”

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