Pope sees new documentary on John Paul II

 Pope Benedict has attended the screening of a new documentary, 'Testimony', based on the book A Life with Karol" by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, and the Italian journalist Gian Franco Svidercoschi.

After the screening the Pope addressed some brief remarks to the audience, many of them Polish, noting that the film "takes our minds back to that late evening of 16 October 1978, thirty years ago today, which has remained engraved in everyone's heart" when the recently-elected Pope, the first Pole in history and the first non-Italian for centuries, appeared before the faithful and said in Italian: "If I make a mistake [in the language] you will correct me".

"We could say that the pontificate of John Paul II is enclosed between two expressions", said the Holy Father, his first phrase of: "Open the doors to Christ! Do not be afraid", and his words on his deathbed: "Let me go to the house of the Father".

"Revealing previously unknown episodes, the film shows the human simplicity, the firm courage and, finally, the suffering of John Paul II, which he faced to the end with his inborn hardiness and the patience of a humble servant of the Gospel".

Benedict XVI highlighted how John Paul II "marked the history of the Church and of the world in the last part of the 20th century and the beginning of the third millennium", and that "thanks to this film" those who did not know him "have a way of appreciating his valour and evangelical passion".

"The film also gives us a better understanding of John Paul II's homeland, Poland, and of its cultural and religious traditions", said the Pope. "It enables us to revisit famous events in ecclesial and civil life, and episodes of which most people are unaware. The whole story is recounted with the affection of one who shared closely in these events, living in the shadow of their protagonist".

After thanking Cardinal Dziwisz, who remained at Karol Wojtyla's side for 39 years, and the director of the film and his associates, the Pope reiterated John Paul II's invitation, "do not be afraid", and told those present to "bear witness to Christ courageously".

'Testimony', directed by the Polish director Pawel Pitera, was filmed in the Vatican, Krakow, Wadowice (the town where Karol Wojtyla was born), Portugal and Germany. It is narrated by Cardinal Dziwisz himself and by the English actor, Michael York.

Source: VIS

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