Vatican Notes & Quotes

The Pope Praises Film

The Los Angeles Times arts and entertainment section Dec. 2 reported John Paul II's words about film, which he delivered the day before at a Vatican conference.

“Pope John Paul II praised the art of movie making as a bearer of ‘sublime, messages’ and called the cinema ‘a particularly suitable means of recounting the inexpressible mystery which surrounds the world and man.’”

“Avoiding past Vatican condemnations of sex and violence in movies, John Paul—a former actor himself—spoke in glowing terms of film's capacity to help spread values that ‘enrich the human spirit.… This new form of art can add much of value to the inexorable … search that man carries out, widening consciousness both of the world that surrounds him and of his interior universe.”

Adman John Paul II?

Does the Pope prefer cars with sunroofs? In a Business Week article about inexpensive and effective ads, published Dec. 8, Tom Amico's work at the agency Meldrum & Fewsmith was featured.

According to the article, he was looking for new work to do when “he got a phone call from a friend. ‘This guy had an auto improvement place that wasn't doing that well,’ recalls Amico. ‘The guy was running ads, but they were very generic, the kind the newspaper would come up with themselves, and it had the name of the place and the store hours.’”

Amico and his partner Jim Proimos began to think of ways to produce ads for his friend that would not include any pictures, which are more expensive. They came up with a plan to concoct celebrity “endorsements” of the friend's auto improvement services.

One successful ad featured the Pope, “pointing out that a sunroof would make it easier to drive while wearing his papal headgear.” To give the ad a deeper, more spiritual dimension—and to offer customers added incentive— the firm added a discount. “[A]nyone who could recite the first 10 words of the ‘Our Father’ got $5 off a $150 sunroof.”