Films Can Lead to Encounter With God, Says Archbishop Foley

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2003 ( A Vatican official is convinced that movies can become the occasion of an encounter with God.

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Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, voiced that view at the closing of the International Congress on the Church and the Cinema, held at the Urban University in Rome.

“The cinematographic expression can awaken a profound experience of encounter with God,” the archbishop said Tuesday.

The theme of this year’s congress was “Christ in the Cinema: A Cinematographic Canon.” Organizers said the initiative aimed to provide the setting “for dialogue between the cinema and faith.”

Archbishop Foley said that cinema and faith are “two languages of symbolic representation” that “establish ties between persons and affect man’s most vital points,” such as the “longing for a better society” and “the struggle between good and evil.”

“Although the spiritual quest is not the direct objective of the cinematographic expression, it is constantly found with it and can awaken a profound experience of encounter with God, especially when it becomes a genuine artistic creation,” he said.

The prelate added that cinema is “a new form of iconography that is extremely valid in our time.” In the cinema, Christ’s face “mirrors the personal aspects reflected by each author,” he said.

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