In October 1978, shortly after becoming Pope, the Holy Father challenged Christians to do more than analyze movies or complain about their lack of merit. He said that Catholics, long the leaders in the arts, should also make movies as part of the new evangelization.
The challenge of evangelization … should also bring forth more numerous initiatives in this field of cinema.
It is a question of creating films, even modest ones with a short running-time, to bear witness directly to the faith of the Church. Many interesting productions have already appeared — and we congratulate their authors. But Christian communities, in spite of the poverty of their means, should not hesitate to invest more in this important sector, at a time of the “civilization of the image.”
In the past, our sanctuaries were filled with religious mosaics, paintings and sculptures, to teach the faith. Shall we have enough spiritual strength and genius to create “moving images,” of great quality, and adapted to the culture of today?
—From a letter to Father Lucien Labelle, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the International Catholic Film Organization.