Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Scene 11

Setting: Papal office

Pope Benedict XV

(Pope is in agony, kneeling before a statue of Our Lady.)

Sr. L: (offscreen) So, all earthly means being exhausted, he called upon heaven for a remedy.

Pope: (desperate) Virgin Mother of God! For three years I tried to put a stop to the madness. Much of my ministry was spent as a diplomat, helping to mend fences and get nations with swords drawn to kill each other to shake hands as brothers. Dear Mother of Mercy, no one will listen to me. Does no prince care about the death of millions of his subjects? Will they wait until there is no one alive to fight before the sword is returned to its place? Must silence drown the screams before there is a call for peace? Mother of Divine Grace! How mighty you were in days past, when Pius V called upon all Christians to lift up their Rosaries so that Christendom would be delivered from the Turk.

(The Pope stops, gets up and walks slowly, deep in thought. Struck by a thought, he turns to the image of Our Lady)

Pope: If you delivered the Church then, surely you will deliver the Church today. If you were sure to deliver when Catholics from around the world invoked you as Our Lady of Victory, surely if they called on you now as the Queen of Peace… Queen of Peace… Queen of Peace… Giacommo!

(The shot is a wider screen, which includes the door. Giacommo walks in.)

Giacommo: (Dressed in cassock, sash, and Roman collar) Yes, Holy Father!

Pope: Get a pen and pad immediately. I must send a letter right away.

Giacommo: Yes, Your Holiness.

(Giacommo leaves in haste. Pope looks pleadingly to Blessed Mother. Giacommo comes in during close-up. The sound of a chair being put down also during closeup.)

Giacommo: I’m ready, Your Holiness.

(Giacommo sits down, ready to take dictation. During this shot, it starts as before, and gradually closes in on Pope during speech. Giacommo writes the whole time.)

Pope: Send this letter to Cardinal Gasparri, post haste. Your Eminence, Our earnestly pleading voice, invoking the end of the vast conflict, the suicide of civilized Europe, was then and has remained ever since unheard. Indeed, it seemed that the dark tide of hatred grew higher and wider among the belligerent nations, and drew other countries into its frightful sweep, multiplying ruin and massacre. Nevertheless Our confidence was not lessened. Since by a loving design of Divine Providence, all graces that the Author of all good deigns to grant to the poor children of Adam are dispensed through the hands of the most Holy Virgin, We wish that, in this dreadful hour, with lively confidence, her most afflicted children turn to her with their requests. In consequence, We charge you, Eminence, to make known to the entire episcopate Our ardent desire that all have recourse to the Heart of Jesus, Throne of graces, and that they have recourse by the mediation of Mary. To this end, We order that, beginning with the first day of June, there be permanently added to the Litany of Loretto the invocation: “Queen of Peace, pray for us”.
To Mary, then, who is the Mother of Mercy and omnipotent by grace, let loving and devout appeal go up from every corner of the earth – from noble temples and tiniest chapels, from royal palaces and mansions of the rich as from the poorest hut– from blood-drenched plains and seas. Let it bear to her the anguished cry of mothers and wives, the wailing of innocent little ones, the sighs of every generous heart: that her most tender and benign solicitude may be moved and the peace We ask for be obtained for our agitated world. The 5th of May, 1917, Benedict, bishop, the Servant of the Servants of God.

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