Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

Church Teaching on Cinema: Pope Pius XI

By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Jun 28, 2024 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

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In 1936, Pope Pius XI published his encyclical on the motion picture, Vigilanti cura. The encyclical dealt with the grave moral concerns raised by the cinema, which had by then become a ubiquitous social influence (though it was also a still-evolving medium, as the transition from silent film to talkies had only recently been completed). Pius held up for worldwide emulation the initiative that had recently taken by the American bishops to influence the motion picture industry in a moral direction, as well as to protect their own flocks from immoral movies.

Vigilanti cura was ghostwritten by the American Jesuit Fr. Daniel Lord, a prolific pamphleteer involved with Catholic Action. Fr. Lord had written the original draft of the Motion Picture Production Code, and helped to found the Legion of Decency. He had also worked in Hollywood as a consultant on Cecil B. DeMille’s silent Biblical picture, The King of Kings.

This is the first of three episodes in which Thomas Mirus and Nathan Douglas survey the body of magisterial documents related to cinema, and discuss what we can take from these teachings today.


Vigilanti cura

Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission.

Criteria is hosted by Thomas V. Mirus and James T. Majewski.

Thomas is Director of Podcasts for and hosts the Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

James is the Director of Customer Relations for as well as the host and narrator for Catholic Culture Audiobooks. See full bio.

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