Pope has made the Pontifical ' Commission for the Cinema, Radio and Television, created by Pope Pius XII on an experimental basis in 1948, a permanent body.
The Pope's letter is, in effect, a renewed call to the Bishops of the world to strengthen Catholic Action where the three media of modern enter tainment are concerned.
Pope John says that it is his "task as a good shepherd of the whole flock to reiterate the warnings of our predecessor about the grave problems which arise in the field of public morals, propagation of ideas and education of young people by these communication media, by sound and sight, which have so much influence on souls."
"It is well known," the Pope says, "how great the possibilities are that the cinema, radio and television may be a means of spreading in the world a higher culture, an art worthy of the name, and, above all, truth". The Pope's action has been welcomed in this country by the chairman of the Catholic Film Institute, Mr. Frank Milner. who is Supreme Knight of the K.S.C. "1 am delighted," he told the CATHOLIC HERALD, " that the Holy Father so quickly after his accession shows that he, too, like Pope Pius XII, attaches importance to the matter.
"It is a further incentive to the work of the Institute, and more people should know what we are doing to carry out the Bishops' wishes."
This importance is made clear by the action of the Pope: through this Mont Proprio he gives to the Pontifical Commission for radio, television and films a status similar to that enjoyed by the Holy Office, which watches over the purity of doctrine and morals.
The Apostolic Letter was given by the Pope to the Rector of the North American Pontifical College in Rome, Bishop O'Connor, who will continue to he president of the Commission.
The members of the Commission will include the Assessors and Secretaries of the Holy Office, of the Consistorial Congregation, of the Oriental Congregation, of Propaganda, of Seminaries and Universities and of the Secretariate of State.
Cineteca Vaticana is the name the Holy Father has given to a new library which is to be formed. To vie for the honour of having their films preserved for all time in the library, producers are expected to try and make good films which. to quote the Holy Father, " will have special artistic and moral appeal ".
It is, as the Pope points out, our duty to educate people, to prepare them to appreciate good films. The library will therefore contain films which, says the Holy Father, "are of interest to the Holy Sec e.
Such films could include pictures dealing with religious life, liturgical functions, work on the missions, and so on.
In Britain, there are plans, now well in hand. to raise the Catholic Radio Centr c's publication "Annunciation" to the status of an official Catholic magazine in this country for these three media of enterta inmen t.
"Annunciation," which until now has been duplicated. is to he printed monthly starting with an enlarged edition of 40 pages due out on Tuesday. March 25. The magazine will work in the closest possible collaboration with the Catholic Film Institute.
"Annunciation" will give advance news of broadcasts and telecasts of Catholic interest, criticisms of about a dozen films reviewed by a panel of priests. issue a classified list of films thus showing their suitability (or otherwise), and print a list of films available for hire (both 16mm and 35mm) for showing in schools.