Picks and Pans Review: Prayer for World Peace

updated 08/10/1987 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/10/1987 01:00AM

So what if We Are the World had Diana Ross and Springsteen, and Live Aid had Tina Turner and Mick Jagger? This tape has Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. Recorded June 6 to mark the beginning of the Roman Catholics' Marian Year, it is, in its ambitious scope, a landmark in the history of world religions. Focused on a service conducted by the Pope in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome, it combines the dignity and pageantry of the church in a way that even that master promoter St. Paul himself, would have admired. The service was broadcast live around the world—a striking confirmation of Marshall McLuhan's concept of the "global village"—to an audience estimated at over a billion. One startling image shows St. Peter's Church in New York filled with worshippers and dozens of television sets. Another shows the screen split in 16 segments, with people from Manila to Houston waving white handkerchiefs in homage to John Paul. Mother Teresa appears in a brief introduction. She is somehow all the more affecting for being so naive as a public figure, clanking her rosary beads against a table as she says, "Where there is love, there will also be the joy of living together in peace." She also appears during the service among the worshippers in Czestochowa, Poland. The service includes five mysteries of the rosary, with the Pope reciting the liturgy in a different language after each. He then reads his message in Italian. This is not John Paul at his most flamboyant. The closest he comes to topicality is noting that "the challenges presented by this difficult moment in the world's history must be faced with generous openness to the transcendent dimension if they are to be resolved to the advantage of humanity and true civilization." The 75-minute tape was adroitly produced by Tony Verna, who also co-produced the Live Aid event. Simultaneous translation into English is narrated by Archbishop John P. Foley; a version is also available in Spanish. (Global Media, $29.95; phone 800-635-5442)

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