Today, Pope Francis met with 400 members of Italy's Catholic Association of Community Cinema Hall Operators (ACEC) on the 70th anniversary of their founding.
During the audience he encouraged them to build communion, saying cinema is a great instrument for bringing people together. He noted that particularly in the post-war period, cinema helped in the reconstruction of the social fabric, transmitting hopes and expectations by providing relief to people from their daily anxieties and difficulties. Watching films also had an educational and formative aspect to help reconnect relationships consumed by tragedies.
Describing the post-war cinema as a great school of humanism, the Pope said the association is heir to this humanism.
The Pope noted that ACEC is appreciated for its ability to bring people together and build communion - something that Christians are called to manifest, saying faith itself is a relationship and an encounter. He invited the group to build communion not only among themselves but also with Catholic associations and organisations dealing with cinema, saying without communion, coming together lacks the soul.
Cinematographic art, he said, is the fruit of creativity that reveals the uniqueness of the human being, his inner reality and intentions. The Pope said that a craftsman shapes his work integrating head, heart and hands according to a clear and defined design,. He thus encouraged the association members to give space to their creativity by building new paths.
If they want to avoid becoming "museums", the Pope said, they must accept the challenges posed by the new digital platforms modern technologies. They must be in the forefront, not in isolation or in a scattered manner, but all together. They must dare and be creative in order to move forward and not remain on the sidelines of innovation.
Pope Francis also encouraged them to have a vision or attentive gaze. The intention behind a vision, the Pope said, is much more than simply an eye exercise. This gaze that is capable of seeing things and inside them, calls for coordinated lifestyles and actions for a greater good than mere interest. The Holy Father concluded, urging the association on this path saying gaze is the foundation of community building.
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