Pope Francis: A Man of His Word
- MPAA Rating:
- 96 mins
- Pope Francis
- Wim Wenders
- Andrea Gambetta, Samantha Gandolfini Branca, Alessandro Lo Monaco, David Rosier, Wim Wenders
Content at a Glance
dialogue regarding sexual abuse
graphic images are shown exploring the reality of those in impoverished situations, victims of natural disaster, and those with illnesses in hospitals
Pope Francis travels the world speaking to those in need and delivering a message of hope.
When Pope Francis took his name after the beloved Saint Francis of Assisi (1181–1286), the 266th pope of the Catholic Church made a bold statement, which still, to this day, proves that his mission is to break down walls that have long kept the church at a safe distant from the dirt and grime of the outside world. Francis of Assisi was known for many things, but keeping to the status quo was not one of them.
As the documentary points out, Pope Francis is the first pope from the Americas, the first pope from the southern hemisphere, the first pope named after Francis of Assisi, and the first Jesuit pope. Needless to say, his role as a trailblazer has earned him a position in the spotlight for more than just practicing Catholics.
There’s a lot to be learned from this timely and important documentary. Dove fully recognizes that our primary audience might have mixed emotions about the mere notion of a pope. Doctrinal differences between the Protestant and Catholic traditions, first established in the days of Martin Luther (and days preceding Luther, to be sure), exist today as strong lines in the sand between the two traditions. Without a doubt, the chasm of separation between Protestants and Catholics has dominated the narrative of church history with tales of unity being few and far between.
But this documentary comes to us at a time where questions are being asked anew: what would a dialogue between Catholic and Protestant look like if it meant that the common ground found between the two was the advancement of the Kingdom of God in order to reach the lost and broken of our world?
This movie is approved because the content is overwhelmingly rooted in Dove’s values to see the silver screen painted with God’s heart for his people. Whether you agree with the idea of a papacy or not, the documentary merely bears witness to a man who is eager to seek that the poor and downtrodden are seen, heard, and cared for in a destructive world that has all but turned a blind eye. The film explores Francis’ passion to see relational harmony built once again, as it was in the beginning, between God and mankind, human beings with one another, and humanity with the earth. Francis’ journey into the dirt and grime of impoverished communities, horrific environmental catastrophes, sexual abuse scandals, and disaster relief (just to name a few) is followed closely by the filmmakers to show that Francis is truly a man of his word. Along the way, the audience is forced again and again to ask incredibly difficult questions of reflection: How am I contributing to this brokenness? How can I contribute to God’s plan to restore and make right?
There are sacred times and places for doctrinal debates. Many would argue that Martin Luther found one of those times and what followed was a much-needed separation from the hierarchal church structure of his day, which, of course meant the papacy. On the other hand, however, life always seems to present us with different seasons filled with choices of engagement—of whether or not we’ll build a bridge with those who are different from us. Perhaps right now, the Pope is that sort of person. What are we to do with a man who claims to be commissioned by God to lead the Catholic faith? Whether you revere him as a leader or not, he’s an important figure worth your time, because many of our brothers and sisters see him as such a leader. Dove finds it important to engage in films like this, in hopes that conversations might take place with our neighbors who think a little differently from us, and ultimately, in hopes that our eyes might be opened even further to the ways in which the Kingdom of God is breaking into this broken world.
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