In his encyclical, Vigilanti Cura, Pope Pius XI wrote that he was “deeply anguished to note with each passing day the lamentable progress of the motion picture art and industry in the portrayal of sin and vice.”
That encyclical regarding film immorality was issued on June 29, 1936. The Pope lamented that “the road seemed almost closed to those who sought honest diversion in the motion picture.” The situation has hardly improved in the ensuing 70-plus years.
The best we can hope for today is that Catholics everywhere will be judicious in the choice of movies they attend – and especially those they allow their children to see – in hopes that, as Pius XI said, movies become a “valuable auxiliary of instruction and education rather than of destruction and ruin of the soul.”
In the Pope’s judgment, the art, science, and technology of movie making were all true gifts of God. Yet he admonished that these talents be used “to promote the extension of the Kingdom of God upon earth.”
Perhaps that should be our guide as well in determining which movies we, and our children, choose to watch.