In Search of Christendom – The Chartres Pilgrimage
The next documentary in the Christendom Project series of films for EWTN will be on the Chartres pilgrimage. We are calling it In Search of Christendom because it is clear that the thousands upon thousands of young people who make this pilgrimage every year are looking for the orthodox Catholic faith.
It was filmed in 2013 as a starting point for the Crusades docudrama which has just last month been screened by EWTN for the English speaking world; I believe that The Crusades English version may be repeated after Christmas. I wanted to start the Crusades filming during the Chartres pilgrimage for several reasons, to make the link between pilgrimage and the Crusades. Because it takes place in the heartlands of France where many of the Crusaders came from, it gave us some great visuals of pilgrims singing, banners flying and the great cathedrals of Notre Dame de Paris and of Notre Dame de Chartres; also, we had the opportunity to film the Traditional Latin Masses in these great Cathedrals.
|High Mass with bishop of Chartres|
In Search of Christendom is really a spin-off documentary from the Crusades but I always hoped that I could find the funds to put this into post-production. In the end it was St Clare Media – the British agents for EWTN - and EWTN themselves who found the funds.
Scouts carry a statue of Our Lady through Paris
What has taken so long in getting The Crusades and indeed In Search of Christendom finished is that we wanted to push the production values as close to those of the main stream media as possible, and even better them if we could. This is a very difficult task with limited funds and resources. Even now, because the team are making the Spanish, German and Slovak versions of The Crusades they can’t get onto the Chartres pilgrimage and finish it. Hopefully we will do so this week. I also need to finish some of the graphics. In addition, my next docudrama on The Inquisition is in pre-production – the spirit is willing but the time is short.
|Young nuns join the congregation after large outdoor Mass to sing the hymn|
Chez Nous, Soyez Reine
This is not just a documentary on the Chartres Pilgrimage itself but probes issues like why young people are rejecting modern secular values, why they crave orthodox Christian morality. As Jamie Bogle (President of the International Una Voce Federation) put it when I interviewed him: “the secular experiment is lost on these young people”. The leader of the USA chapter Michael J. Matt said in his interview “...I really believe what they see here is what they can’t find on MTV; it is something they can’t find in their computer games.” And Herve Rolland, chairman of IBM Europe and the Vice President of the pilgrimage, said: “young people realise that unlike their parents … we’ve been too extreme, we’ve been too far away. New laws – at the moment in France we are fighting the same sex marriage legislation which is against natural law and means nothing.” During interviews with young people themselves it became clear that their longing for authentic Catholic values was even stronger than I had expected, and they were not afraid to speak out. Ashley Cloves, a young member of Human Life International, gave a very clear testimony on why young Catholics appreciate what orthodox Catholicism teaches, and that pro-Life and pro-traditional family values are paramount to their faith. The crew started questioning me on what have abortion and traditional family values got to do with the Crusades and the Chartres pilgrimage, – well I believe in some ways everything!
I also interviewed a young Chaldean Catholic whose family had to flee Iraq. They now live in France and he is a student. He was sad that such pilgrimages would be impossible in Iraq, for his country is now being ethnically cleansed of Christians. However, it may surprise some people that his chapter also included many Muslim converts to the Catholic faith – it’s the beauty and the truth that attracts.
If I have one prayer for this documentary it would be that once the documentary is released on DVD, orthodox and traditional Catholics should buy it and send it to the Pope and the Synod Fathers on the Family, and to anyone who believes that young Catholics want change. For young Catholics want authentic Catholic teachings on the faith and morality.