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Scorsese screens ‘Silence’ for Jesuits, greets pope
December 5th, 2016
By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY – The morning after screening his film, “Silence,” for about 300 Jesuits, the U.S. director Martin Scorsese had a private audience with Pope Francis.

During the 15-minute audience Nov. 30, Pope Francis told Scorsese that he had read Japanese author Shusaku Endo’s historical novel, “Silence,” which inspired the film. The book and film are a fictionalized account of the persecution of Christians in 17th-century Japan; the central figures are Jesuit missionaries.

Pope Francis spoke to Scorsese, his wife and two daughters, and the film’s producer, about the early Jesuit missions to Japan and about the Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum and Monument in Nagasaki, which honors the Japanese martyrs executed on the site in 1597.

The U.S. director screened the film Nov. 29 at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome for an international group of Jesuits and Nov. 30 in the Vatican for specially invited guests.

In the novel, the Jesuit priest and missionary Father Rodrigues is captured; to make him renounce the faith, the Japanese authorities force him to watch as local Christians are martyred. While he believes he would suffer for his faith, he has a difficult time refusing to publicly renounce Christianity when it would end the suffering of the others.

“On the surface,” Scorsese told TV2000, the book’s title “refers to the silence of God,” though Father Rodrigues learns that “God is in the silence, that God has been there suffering with him.”

From December 8, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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