Movies Are Irreplaceable Vehicle of Evangelization, Says Cardinal Poupard

Closes Congress on Filmdom and the Ten Commandments

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2002 ( Cinema should be regarded as “an irreplaceable vehicle” of communication and evangelization, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Cardinal Paul Poupard expressed this conviction at the closing of a congress on cinema and the Ten Commandments, promoted by various Vatican organizations.

The cardinal asked what place God and man have in contemporary culture. The answer is given by God himself, the cardinal clarified: “Christ invites us to put man, with his doubts and ambiguities, at the center of everything.”

This is precisely the challenge, the cardinal said. “To listen to men’s culture and start again from the beginning, for love of God and of one’s neighbor,” he said.

“It seems that the law of the market is imposed in the cinema, and that a part of the media culture is vulgar and violent,” the French cardinal said. Yet the cinema “is the most wonderful instrument to dream of and grow in ideals,” he added.

Given that “traces of the spiritual dimension are found in the cinema,” our obligation “is to enlighten and nourish this trace of meaning,” the cardinal continued.

Cardinal Poupard presided over the second and last day of reflection of the congress “The Ten Commandments and the Cinematographic Culture of the Third Millennium.”

The event was organized by the pontifical councils for culture and for social communications, and the Vatican Film Library at the University of the Holy Cross.

At the end of the event, Claudio Siniscalchi, film professor at the University of the Holy Cross, recalled that “John Paul II has known how to read our times in a comprehensive way, putting ethics at the base of all reflection.”

Siniscalchi lamented “the ethical deficiency of our society” but at the same time explained how it is possible for ethics to enter the film culture.

The congress concluded at the headquarters of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, with the showing of Randall Wallace’s film “We Were Soldiers.”

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