While resting up at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father will be taking the time to catch a film on Friday. The Pontiff will watch "Under the Roman Sky,” a movie about Hitler's treatment of the Jews in Rome and his attempt to kidnap Pope Pius XII.Related Links:
As the Pope recovers from a taxing Holy Week schedule, during which he appeared for public celebrations nearly every day, he will have the opportunity to relax and take in the movie featuring the American actor James Cromwell as Pope Pius XII, who was the subject of a kidnap plot by Adolph Hitler.
The mini-series is set in the streets of Rome during the Nazi occupation. According to Italy's AGI News, the plot develops along the course of nine months, and features Jews being taken from the ghetto and a failed attempt by the Nazis to abduct the Pope.
The film, made by the Italian production company Lux Vide, also illustrates the Church's efforts to protect and save Jews during the war, the very subject that raised a considerable amount controversy after Pope Benedict declared Pius XII "Venerable" on Dec. 19, 2009.
Lux Vide has produced other biographical films on Popes John Paul II, Paul VI and John XXIII as well as many other saints and biblical figures.
The Holy Father will settle in for the viewing at 5:30 this afternoon in the Swiss Room of Castel Gandolfo.
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"Benedict XVI needs to be acknowledged as having instructed a new sensibility around this difficult, critical theme, and of having done as much as was possible to exercise ... a very rigorous pastoral, but also canonical and moral, responsibility."
The Holy Father expressed his sorrow over the death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and those accompanying him on a flight to Russia on Saturday morning. Pope Benedict remembered all of those who died and implored "a special blessing to the people of Poland from God omnipotent."
According to CNN, President Kaczynski, his wife, top members of the Polish government, army and several Church authorities were on the plane that went down just seconds from landing at the airport of Smolensk, Russia. The aircraft apparently clipped some trees with a wing as it made its way through heavy fog. Reports vary on the number of people on the plane, but counts run from 89 to 132 people, none of whom survived.
The delegation was headed to the small village of Katyn, a few kilometers from Smolensk, in a landmark visit to observe the 70th anniversary of the execution of more than 20,000 Polish officers during World War II.
Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his telegram to the acting President of the Polish Parliament, Bronislaw Komorowski, that it was with "profound sorrow" that he learned of the deaths of those who were on their way to Katyn.
He remembered the president, the exiled ex-president of the Republic Ryszard Kaczorowski, Army chaplain and Bishop Tadeusz Plozki, Orthodox Archbishop Miron Chodakowski and Evangelical military pastor Adam Pilsch by name.
He entrusted all of the victims of the crash "to the goodness of merciful God" and prayed, "May He take them into his glory."
To the families of the dead and to all Poles he sent his "sincere condolences" and assured his them of spiritual closeness.
"In this difficult moment," he closed, "I implore for all the people of Poland a special blessing of God omnipotent."