Bishops' movie man gets Rome call up

The Director of the Australian Catholic Bishops office for film and television, Fr Richard Leonard, has been posted to Rome as visiting professor at the prestigious Pontifical Gregorian University.

Fr Leonard, who is one of only three Catholic priests with a PhD in cinema studies, has been appointed by the Holy See's Congregation for Catholic Education to the position at the Gregorian University's Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication.

"The University was founded as the Roman College by St Ignatius Loyola in 1553", Fr Leonard said, "and became the Gregorian University in 1582 in honour of Pope Gregory XIII, its great patron and benefactor."

The Social Communications Centre is much more recent having been established in response to the call of Vatican II and Pope Paul VI to study the interface between the media and the Church and to train women and men to use the media more effectively in proclaiming the good news.

As is the custom in many countries these days, the Gregorian has flexible teaching arrangements which enable faculty to teach intensive semester courses over shorter periods of time. Fr Leonard will be teaching each day for a month.

"What is striking about the Gregorian University is the multicultural student body it has", Fr Leonard said.

"I will have priests, nuns, brothers, and lay men and women from all over the world in my classes. The majority of them will be from the third world, so my going there continues the Australian Church's generous support of the mission of the Universal Church."

Fr Leonard is not the first Australian Jesuit to be honoured with an appointment to the Gregorian University. Fr Gerry O'Collins had just retired from the theology faculty after a lifetime of service in Rome.

Islamic scholar, Fr Dan Madigan, is the director of the Institute for the Study of Religions and Cultures. And Fr Bill Dalton SJ was the Rector and a professor, and Fr Brendan Byrne SJ a visiting professor, at the Pontifical Biblical Institute within the Gregorian.

Fr Leonard will return to Australia in December.

Bishop's Film and TV man called to Rome (ACBC, Media Release, 25/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting
Pontifical Gregorian University (Wikipedia)
Pontifical Gregorian University

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26 Oct 2006