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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Ben-Hur, Story of God among Catholics in Media Award winners

The remake of Ben-Hur, TV drama Ray Donovan and the documentary series The Story of God were named winners of the 2016 Catholics in Media Awards, presented annually by Catholics in Media Associates.

The awards will be given at a brunch in Los Angeles on 9th October following a Mass at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles with the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose H. Gomez, as celebrant.

Ben-Hur is the third film version of the 1880 novel by Lew Wallace. It is the second Catholics in Media Award for the husband-and-wife executive producer team of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who also won in 2014 for The Bible.

‘They make every effort to bring together fine storytelling with the highest production values that inspires and uplifts the human spirit,’ Sr Rose Pacatte, a Daughter of St Paul and president of Catholics in Media Associates, said in a statement announcing the winners on 19th September. Ben-Hur is receiving the organisation’s Motion Picture Award.

The Television Award goes to Ray Donovan, seen on the pay-cable channel Showtime since 2013, stars Liev Schrieber in the title role as a ‘fixer’ for the rich and famous in Los Angeles who can solve everyone’s problems except his own family’s.

‘The Donovans, especially Ray, are a Catholic family of mobsters that struggles with faith and conscience in every episode,’ said a statement by Catholics in Media Associates vice president Haskell Vaughn Anderson. ‘Their flaws, sins and violence are outward signs of their inner conflict between temptation and the impulse to be decent and caring human beings. Their redemption is in the struggle to do choose good over evil, to not give up. Where there is darkness there is also the action of grace in Ray Donovan.’

Receiving the Documentary Award is The Story of God, a five-installment documentary series on cable’s National Geographic Channel featuring actor Morgan Freeman, chronicling how the power of religion touches everyone and how our beliefs connect us all. “Morgan Freeman is exceptional as the host,” said Sr Rose. “He brings gravitas, intelligence and humor through the questions he asks. His respect for people of all faiths is a model for us all.”

Catholics in Media Associates will give its first Communicator Award to the Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, Robert E. Barron, who started Word on Fire Catholic Ministries in 2000. Word on Fire has been broadcast on cable TV, radio, YouTube, podcasts and its own website.

Picture: Jack Huston stars in a scene from the movie “Ben-Hur.” The film is one of the winners of the 2016 Catholics in Media Awards, presented annually by Catholics in Media Associates. (CNS photo/Paramount Pictures).