From the archives: new film marks anniversary of Vatican II

2012-09-25 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Second Vatican Council as you’ve never seen it before: that’s what the Pontifical Council for Social Communications is offering through a new documentary film being released to mark the 50th anniversary of the Council on October 11th this year.

Put together by the Micromegas Communication company from over 200 hours of material from the Vatican film archive, the production includes plenty of unpublished footage and pictures, plus interviews with church leaders from around the world sharing personal memories and historical perspectives on the significance of the Council in different countries and cultural contexts.

From the announcement by John XXIII in January 1959, through the preparations and three years of work by the bishops and their assistants, this film reveals new details and hopes to add new insight to the understanding of this watershed event for our contemporary Christian world.

Archbishop Claudio Celli, a young theology student during the years of the Vatican II, currently heads the Pontifical Council for Social Communications – he told Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen more about the film and its contents:


“We were trying to give the opportunity to many people, especially the young generations who know nothing about the Council, to show a lot of material. Consider that in the Filmoteca Vaticana we have around 200 hours of filming of Vatican II and we thought it was good to offer such an opportunity to people to know what happened. . . .

You will see that the beginning of the film is historical background. . . . to see in 1959, when John XXIII announced the Council, what was the historical situation of the world – and so you can imagine what was the impact. . . .and I think this is important to have a historical and theological overview of the situation. . . .

Afterwards we have nice interviews – consider for example the interview with Mgr Capovilla who was the private secretary of John XXIII. . . . He refers to some particulars that were unknown… if you remember during the night of the 11th October 1962, when the Council was opened in the morning, with almost 3.000 bishops from all over the world, in the evening some Catholic movements organised a special presence in St Peter’s square with lights and candles. Mgr Capovilla was reminding us that nothing was set or planned for the evening and the Holy Father told him ‘I will go to the window, but I will say nothing, I will just give a blessing’, but we all know what Blessed John XXIII said that evening - the famous speech of the moon - but what he said was not prepared, it was really coming out of his heart but it’s one of the most famous interventions of the Pope…..

We have invited 14 cardinals, 1 patriarch, 1 archbishop, asking them to present the documents of Vatican II, as you know, there are 16 documents and so we were asking people from different countries with different cultural perspectives to give a simple evaluation of the documents, trying to explain to us what was the meaning in that moment, but also the value of the document for today..."