Benedict XVI Reviews Pius XII Film

Praises Theme of Charity

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, APRIL 12, 2010 ( Benedict XVI spent a few hours of his post-Easter rest watching a new film on Pope Pius XII, suggesting that a key for interpreting the production is the theme of charity.

The Holy Father saw “Sotto il Cielo di Roma” (Under the Roman Sky) on Friday afternoon at the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo. The film, by the Italian production company Lux Vide, stars James Cromwell as Pope Pius XII. It is set in 1940s Rome, and reflects the Church’s efforts to save people from the Nazis, as well as Adolph Hitler’s plot to kidnap the Pope.

Benedict XVI welcomed the production, suggesting these types of works are “of particular value, especially for the new generations.” He noted how students might have studied the events depicted in the film, but that seeing it “might be useful and stimulating” and help present a period of history, which more recent events and the “fragmented culture” can bring one to forget.

The Pontiff went on to reflect about the figure of Pius XII, calling him the “Pope of our youth.”

“With his rich teaching he was able to speak to the men of his time, pointing out the way of Truth, and with his great wisdom was able to direct the Church toward the horizon of the Third Millennium,” Benedict XVI recalled. “I must, however, stress particularly that Pius XII was the Pope that, as father of all, presided in charity in Rome and in the world, above all in the difficult time of World War II.”

He noted Pius XII’s emphasis on St. Paul’s exhortation: “Above all these, put on love.”

“The primacy of charity, of love — which is the commandment of the Lord Jesus — is the principle and key of the reading of the whole work of the Church, ‘in primis’ of her universal Pastor,” the Pope said. “Charity is the reason for every action, for every intervention. It is the global reason that moves thought and concrete gestures, and I am happy that also in this film, this unifying principle emerges.”

The Holy Father proposed charity as the “key of reading” the film, “in the light of the genuine witness of that great teacher of faith, of hope and of charity that was Pope Pius XII.”

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