"Hi, guys. We're Piccolo and Fiona, John Paul II's bosom pigeons," goes the script of the Vatican's message of suffering and redemption embodied in a visually stunning Disneyesque animated life of Karol Józef Wojtyła available on DVD. Compare and contrast the Vatican's message to the younger generation with that of the Palestinians ["Seek death for Allah (Shahada)"]. Discuss.
"Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong," goes James R. Lowell's "Once to Every Man and Nation," often quoted here. This morning two stories in the news exemplify -- one as beacon, the other as black hole -- the choice for all of us "’twixt that darkness and that light." First the beacon:
"They disagree on many points. But they also criticize those Muslims who want to impose, with violence, 'utopian dreams in which the end justifies the means,'” reports www.chiesa in "The Regensburg Effect: The Open Letter from 38 Muslims to the Pope":
One month after his lecture at the University of Regensburg, Benedict XVI received an “open letter” signed by 38 Muslim personalities from various countries and of different outlooks, which discusses point by point the views on Islam expressed by the pope in that lecture . . .
“We must state that the murder on September 17th of an innocent Catholic nun in Somalia -- and any other similar acts of wanton individual violence -- 'in reaction to' the lecture at the University of Regensburg, is completely un-Islamic, and we totally condemn such acts.”
The authors of the letter appreciate Benedict XVI’s desire for dialogue and take very seriously his theses. “Applaud” pope's “efforts to oppose the dominance of positivism and materialism in human life,” while contest him on other points, adding their reasons for their opposition.
Take that, ye of so little faith in the deep and abiding wisdom of this pope, those of our fellow citizens who dismissed the invitation to dialogue of his Regensburg lecture as the naive maunderings of a fool out of his depth.
"He inhabits an intellectually rigorous and emotionally rich world of faith and ritual we will never know," we wrote of Papa Ratzi during the cartoon wars last winter. Likewise the world of his predecessor, John Paul II, gorgeously portrayed in the animated version of his life now available on DVD.
Now the dark hole "In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side" in the news today:
"With its Al Manar television station launched in 1991, the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah has pioneered the use of mass media as a weapon," write Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Snow in today's Opinion Journal:
It uses the broadcaster to recruit suicide bombers, raise money for terrorist operations, conduct pre-attack surveillance and incite violence. This fall, the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is poised to follow in Hezbollah's footsteps.
Until now, Hamas's Al Aqsa television has been broadcast only within the Gaza Strip. But this month it will begin satellite distribution via the Nilesat satellite, the Palestinian News Agency (Ramattan) reported in August. This would allow Hamas to spread its message of hatred across the Middle East, North Africa and most of Europe . . .
Children are specifically targeted. Hamas produces radio and television shows and publishes an online magazine geared at preteens. A recent issue of the magazine opens with a cartoon of a smiling child riding a rocket while the previous issue glorified suicide bombers and other "martyrs" in cartoons and poetry.
You've heard of cartoon wars, but now from the light side come two white doves (photo at top) with a message "intended to appeal particularly to children," created by animation producer and director Jose Luis Lopez-Guardia in collaboration with the Vatican Television Center:
A cartoon version of the life of Pope John Paul II, telling the story of his life and death in animated form, is to be released on DVD by the Vatican.
The film, subtitled The Friend of All Humanity, will be the first cartoon account of a Pope's life.
Producer Lope-Guardia wins our heart and mind with his rationale:
"There are two reasons why this film was so important for me -- it was a tribute to Pope John Paul, and also for my mother, who adored him," he said.
He said he chose a pair of pink-beaked doves, Piccolo and Fiona, to narrate the story as Pope John Paul II was so often photographed surrounded by them.
"His life story is so serious, grave and even sad that I needed some funny characters to appeal to children and to lighten the story," he explained.
Maybe it's time to go out and purchase a DVD player. We were totally smitten by the beauty of the trailer to the John Paul II cartoon.
"This one-of-a-kind production reveals the untold story and the human side of John Paul II . . . [who] was the driving force behind great social and political changes, and his papacy had far-reaching effects on the history of humanity," says the voiceover in the trailer at "The Friend of All Humanity" website. Beautiful stuff, highly recommended.