Segments in this Video

The Center of Western Christianity (01:44)


Christianity went from obscure cult to the official religion of the Roman Empire, with the Bishop of Rome at its head. St. Peter's Basilica is the largest church in the world, and the centerpiece of the world's smallest country, the Vatican.

Hoping to Reunite All Christians (02:24)

Catholics believe the successor of St. Peter is the head of the Church. Since Peter's ministry was in Rome, the Bishop of Rome heads the Church. The Vatican is working toward restoring the unity in faith that existed in the Church for 1000 years.

The Primacy of the Pope (01:48)

Rome is still an important place of pilgrimage for the faithful. Holy Week holds special significance for the clergy. Here no one disputes the Pope's authority. At a Maundy Thursday service at St. Peter's, priests renew their vows.

Communion and Transubstantiation (02:02)

Latin is still in daily use in the Vatican. According to Catholic doctrine, communicants consume the actual body and blood of Christ. To receive the sacrament one must be in communion with the Church and must not be in a state of mortal sin.

Power, Pomp and Ceremony (02:08)

In Rome, attitudes toward the Church range from frustration to irreverence. Only 7% attend church. Both Church and Vatican are accused of interference in Italian politics through the Christian Democratic Party. Some Catholics want change.

A More Circumspect Vatican (02:53)

One political party has pledged to clean up Italian politics. The days are gone when Cardinals could advise good Catholics how to vote. The election of a foreign Pope is seen as a turning point. Some say they must push the Church in a new direction.

A Thriving Vatican (02:44)

The Vatican has an elaborate administration and all the trappings of a modern kingdom--its own railway line, postal service, print shop and radio station. 4000 workers toil inside its walls. Every week the Pope receives 9000 pilgrims from around the world.

The Pope's Vision Takes in the World (02:31)

John Paul II, the first non-Italian Pope in 500 years, proclaimed the spiritual unity of Europe in 1979. Within 10 years, the Iron Curtain fell. He is a charismatic figure, his face one of the most familiar in the world. The Vatican exploits his appeal.

No More Unquestioning Submission (02:31)

In Italy, the Church faces a serious challenge. 90% of the population call themselves Catholic, but few are practicing believers. Some reject the Church's conservatism on social issues. People are more likely to follow their own conscience.

The Church of St. John Lateran (01:29)

For Italians, this Mother of Churches affirms the Holy Father's unique relationship with their country. The great public occasions are still powerful and deeply moving to them. Here on Maundy Thursday the Pope commemorates the Last Supper.

Hope Despite Secularization (02:17)

Church and state are now separate, and Italy seems no more Catholic than other countries. The challenge for the Church is to bring people to realize belief is not enough, they must put belief into practice in daily life, giving due place to God.

Credits: The Roman Catholic Church: The Vatican and Italy (01:01)

Credits: The Roman Catholic Church: The Vatican and Italy

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The Roman Catholic Church: The Vatican and Italy

Part of the Series : Credo: An Introduction to the Major Religious Traditions of Europe
DVD Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



With privileged access to the Vatican, this program offers a concise account of the relationship between the autonomous nations of the Vatican and Italy. In addition to showing the basilica, the electrifying spectacle of a papal audience, and the profoundly moving Maundy Thursday ceremony at St. John Lateran’s, the program also considers the reality of the Pope’s own diocese, Rome, and explores the dilemmas of practicing Catholics, laypeople and clergy, and their sometimes ambivalent attitude towards the Vatican. (30 minutes)

Length: 26 minutes

Item#: BVL4102

Copyright date: ©1993

Closed Captioned

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