Blessed James Alberione

Opera Omnia


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The extent of this field appeared already when people began to go to motion picture theaters, compelled by curiosity to watch black and white figures moving on the screen where, beforehand, they were accustomed to see them fixed on paper, in the form of ordinary photographs.
It increased when, following its experimental stage, the cinema took on spectator interest from the point of view of "amusement", and the production of motion pictures started with the introduction of a real plot.
When movie production became an art form, moved from Europe to [North] America and, with the introduction of the sound track, achieved one of its greatest aims, which was to faithfully reproduce real life, the intervention of apostolic-minded people seemed indispensable.
Such a need is particularly underscored today. The might of the cinema surpasses that of the school, the pulpit, and the press, and it is seeking even greater credentials.
The range and the efficacy of this discovery of human genius are renowned. Its range, one could say, embraces the whole of life: individual, familial, social, intellectual, moral and religious, literary and artistic, economic and political...
Its efficacy extends beyond any other form of
spreading ideas and of educating people, both young and old.
The motion picture has, in fact, a psychological, one could say, a suggestive power over the human spirit because it takes hold of the whole person and strikes at all his faculties, physical and spiritual. It does not even require the viewer to make the effort to interpret, reconstruct or imagine scenes - something that even the simplest of novels does.
Its efficacy, combined with its range, can severely strengthen or undermine - depending on whether the motion picture is good or bad - the four couplings of human society: youth, the family, social order and religious order.
The above-mentioned prerogatives are unfortunately recognized and exploited in an appalling way by "the children of darkness" who employ the cinema as a stimulus for passion, an incentive for gain, and an instrument of evil in the widest sense of the word.
"Everyone knows" says Pius XI in the Vigilanti cura "what damage is done to the soul by bad motion pictures. They are an occasion of sin; they seduce young people along the ways of evil by glorifying the passions; they show life under a false light; they cloud ideals; they destroy pure love, respect for marriage, affection for the family. They are capable also of creating prejudices
among individuals and misunderstandings among nations, social classes, and entire races."
The facts confirm this.
From the albeit arid statistics of a survey2 it is possible to gauge the profound importance that the question of motion pictures assumes more and more every day.
Such figures show how urgent it is to step up the pace and make up for lost time. We need to snatch back from Satan a vast territory that he has unjustly conquered and to return to God a great gift of his power. We need to bring back for the good of people an instrument that is widely used for their ruin.
"Good motion pictures" said Pius XI in the Vigilanti cura "are capable of exercising a profoundly moral influence upon those who see them. In addition to affording recreation, they are able to arouse noble ideals of life, to communicate valuable conceptions... to present truth and virtue under attractive forms, to create, or at least to favor understanding among nations, social classes and races, to champion the cause of justice, to give new life to the claims of virtue and to contribute positively to the genesis of a just social order in the world."
In practical terms the apostle can carry out his activities, in this regard, in keeping with the policy of the legitimate ecclesiastical authority. His resolve should be, insofar as possible, to work towards bringing Christian values into the already existing public movie industry and to work for the creation of Catholic motion picture production.


2 Cf. Il Ragguaglio dell'attività culturale, letteraria ed artistica dei cattolici in Italia, Istituto di Propaganda Libraria.