Communications Council Makes Documentary on Vatican II

Intervention From Young Karol Wojtyła Is Part of Footage

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By Luca Marcolivio

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 17, 2012  ( On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, in collaboration with Micromegas Communication, is releasing a documentary on the council.

Broadcasting will begin in Italy on Oct. 11, the date of the opening of the Year of Faith and the 50th anniversary of the conciliar meeting. The documentary, filmed in HD, lasts a total of 12 hours and attempts to reconstruct the historical, theological, cultural and emotive climate of an event that has profoundly marked not only the history of the Church but of the whole contemporary world.

The film is drawn from the Vatican Film Library, which has close to 200 hours of original films that preceded the opening of the Council.

“Initially the temptation was to make an ‘auto-celebratory’ product, selecting salient moments of the material of the Film Library,” Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, explained today at a press conference on the documentary. 

“However, we wanted to enrich the documentary with interviews with cardinals, patriarchs and bishops of the whole world. The intent is to see how Vatican II was received also in Africa, Latin America, and the Eastern Churches: it was the cardinals themselves who indicated the keys for reading the most important documents of the Council, thus offering a very rich ecclesial cultural ,” continued the prelate.

Presenting history

A total of 14 top prelates were interviewed for the film, among them Cardinal Walter Kasper, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments; Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington; Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris; Monsignor Bechara Pierre Rai, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites; and Monsignor Loris Capovilla, then private secretary of Pope John XXIII.

It is not “exclusively” about “images,” explained Archbishop Celli. “Our objective is to tell the history of the Council to those who did not live it, to bring those who weren’t present, or who know very little about it, to perceive its richness.”

One of the images that will strike the public most is the intervention at the Council of the young Karol Wojtyla. “It is thought provoking to hear his voice, when he intervenes in Latin during one of the sessions,” the archbishop reflected.

The documentary will be broadcast by RAI [Italian Radio and Television] in two installments lasting one hour and 50 minutes (the first on October 11, and the second on a date to be defined); in consideration of its notable duration, only one part of the film will be reproduced on the main national networks.

The next step will be its reproduction on DVD, in four or five volumes, produced according to the needs of the local Churches and the Episcopal Conferences.

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications will soon undertake contacts with the principal global television broadcasters – European and American in particular – for the distribution of the documentary, the translation of which is under way.

A special showing will take place during the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization (October 7-28).

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