Literature Review Chapter: Direct Impact That Catholic Voices

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[. . .] Although initially Unda and OCIC were both founded separately and had no connection to one another what so ever, but after the 1960's both these organizations started coming together more and more as they started dividing the tasks, that before they were doing separately, among themselves. Unda started working with UNESCO in the activities regarding the media education[footnoteRef:9] whereas; OCIC became concerned with the internet and video productions. Since 1980's all the congresses and meetings were being held jointly and later on in 2001 due to the need for one large organization devoted to all the media of the world, these two organizations merged into one organization known as SIGNIS. [9: See the Unda publication Educommunication Nouvelles, which started in may 1987 as a trimestrial bulletin, which covers the (Catholic) activities in this field worldwide and is not restricted to the Western hemisphere. It goes also from Argentina, the Philippines to the Fiji islands.]

Mass media and apostolate

In order to put a Catholic stamp on the usage of all the major Mass media such as photos, videos and other productions both the Unda and OCIC improved their efforts. The extent of the OCIC's engagement in the field of film criticism could be estimated by the fact that they were present at all the major festivals such as La Havana, Mar del Plata, Moscow, Venice Cannes, Valladolid, Mannheim, Ouagadougou or Berlin (Convents and Beeck, 2009).

This was the approach that was, according to what was expressed in the Encyclical Vigilante Cura (1936), where the OCIC is warned about the disadvantages or dangers of the film world, but along with that they are also told about the advantages of it[footnoteRef:10]. OCIC was encouraged by Vigilante Cura to have their representatives in all the major countries in the world in order to make sure that they share their own experiences as well as further extend the work of the national Catholic film organizations. OCIC was recognized as the only global and international Catholic structure organization for cinema by the Vatican as early as in the 1930s. The International Review of Film was launched by Unda between 1949 and late 1950s. Later on this magazine became one of the few most prestigious magazines regarding international publications about films and articles of very popular Catholic intellects such as Henri Agel[footnoteRef:11]. [10: The OCIC/Unda archives documents also the Papal encyclicals concerning media like Vigilante Cura (1936), Miranda Prorsus (1957) or Inter-Mirifica (1963), and different pastoral letters and instructions or documents on social communications published by the Pontifical Council of Social Communications, like Communio e Progresso (1971), Aetatis Novae (1992) or Ethics in Communication (2000).] [11: The history of these OCIC magazines (and their different language editions) -- La Revue Internationale du Cinema, OCIC information, OCIC Info, Cine & Media -- is well documented until 1998 by L. Bonneville, 57 -- 63 and 223 -- 225. Unda had its own publications and newsletters, also in French and English.]

Since the meetings held in the 1930s it was decided that the Catholics should review all the films in every country that came on the commercial screens. For that reasons archives were built by the national organizations, which for many years were the only documentation centers on films in Cuba (1936) Italy (1928), Belgium (1930), Egypt (1946), Germany (1930), Sri Lanka, Senegal and so on. All this is documented in the archives of OCIC along with the reports of international study day that was held on this topic as well as all the magazines, letters and year books. The OCIC used the films as an instrument to spread evangelization which is very interesting when compared with the Legion of Decency in the U.S. The comparison is one that shows a very unconstructive approach towards cultural morality by the Catholic church, which in turn, can taint the entire standing of the Catholic Church when it comes to faith and morals in general[footnoteRef:12]. [12: Walfredo Pin " era and Mar? ' a Caridad Cumana ', Mirada al cine cubano (Brussels, 1999), 109 -- 118. The Catholic centre of cinema in Cairo organises every year one of the most attended national film festivals in Egypt. In doing so it is the oldest film festival in Africa: Ida Ghali, Egypte. Festival de la centrale Catholique de cinema, SIGNIS Media, (2), 27 (Brussels, 2007). Here Ghali reviews the 55th edition of the festival. The Catholics (a minority) in Sri Lanka have organised the national film festival in the country for years.]

Unda has been working on this same phenomenon as well. Since 1950s, especially in the 1960s, its policies regarding radio and TV have been not only to make the people know the Catholic values and spirituality but they have also been working on the human rights[footnoteRef:13]. [13: Angela Ann Zukowski and Pierre Be ' langer (ed.) Radio Presence. A Collection of International Stories & Experiences (Brussels, 2000). See articles such as: Radio vs. dictators, Unda Newsletter, x (5) (Brussels, June 1966), 1, about the role of Radio Soleil in Haiti against Jean Claude Duvalier. The same can be found in the Philippines (against Marcos) and in Peru (against Fujimori).]

The original research on the work of OCIC was made possible because of the availability of all the archival materials. It made us realize and understand the extent of the strong bond which is present between the Unda, OCIC and Vatican. The document also tells about the movement which took place in the 1960s because of which the Vatican realized that OCIC is an independent organization having appreciated and awarded works in films like the Midnight Cowboy. What came as perhaps the biggest shocker was Unda's support and awarding of the movie Teorema which was directed and released by the 'communist and gay' movie director -- Pier Paolo Passolini (Convents and Beeck, 2009).

There is a complete record of all the meetings, study days, congresses and the central administrative bodies as well. Both the organizations had different branches in different continents along with having a well organized central structure. The differences and similarities that all the different branches of both Unda and OCIC had in different continents is also mentioned in the archives[footnoteRef:14]. [14: In 1967, Unda held a conference for Asia on radio and television in Cotabato City. Reports from Ceylon, Hong Kong, India, Japan, New Guinea, Thailand, Micronesia (Caroline islands), Vietnam and the Philippines were presented. They form a rich documentation on these media in this region, and they also give a context of the letters found in the Unda archives.]

As Unda and OCIC tried, and eventually succeeded, to pay great importance to the fact about developing countries which have Catholic missions; the mass media played a very important role in this. Therefore, there is a huge record available on the meetings and the discussions between the general secretariats and their national members since this contact between them helped the researcher to create, in many countries, an image of the media. Information about television, radio and Catholic films in 140 countries is also available in the documents, even in countries such as Australia, Luxemburg, Lebanon, Macao, Rwanda, Madagascar, Cuba, the Marshall Islands and the Fiji islands (Convents and Beeck, 2009).

Media offices were made in the bishop's conferences in all the countries by the Vatican 2 in early 1960s; bishops were responsible for the meeting of the media in Rome at Pontifical council for social communications. Unda and OCIC were present at those meetings as the consultants (they have consultant statute at the Council of Europe, UN and UNESCO as well). Information about all these meetings and gatherings is also present in the documents. The project of evaluating the numerous audiovisual ventures of Propaganda designed for the southern hemisphere was also taken care of by them. Information about all these project evaluations also gives an idea about the broadcasting in India, meetings, production of educational, training sessions, local Catholic television and so on. This also means that all or most of the radio and other audiovisual shows that were done in history in the countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America were recorded and properly documented by them[footnoteRef:15]. [15: In Latin America, OCIC and Unda with WACC published books such as Jose ' Mart? ' nez Terrero, Comunicacio ' n grupal liberadora (Florida; Buenos Aires, 1986) or… [END OF PREVIEW]

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