No, this post is not announcing that Butler University is ceasing to be a secular university. And no, I’m not offering a theological interpretation of what goes on here even so. Not that that would be entirely inappropriate. We honor the values of our founder, Ovid Butler, and those values were theological in character and foundation. But they were also adamantly inclusive, and so is Butler.
And that makes for a nice connection with what is the focus of this post, namely the fact that we’ll be showing the movie The Divine Plan at Butler University on October 3rd at 7 pm in Pharmacy Building room 204. The movie is about the role of Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan in bringing about the end of the Cold War. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker, Rob Orlando, whom I’ve mentioned here often in connection with his earlier movie Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe. My colleague in Political Science Dr. Shyam Sriram will join him on the panel.
I’ll also be there, obviously. If you’re near enough to do so, please join us!
The Divine Plan Book at Heritage
The Divine Plan & Robert Orlando
The Divine Plan by Robert Orlando is a fascinating documentary on friendship and cooperation between John Paul II and Ronald Reagan which changed the fate of the world.
Based in part on captivating prose by Orlando and Paul Kengor from their book The Divine Plan, the film discusses the American victory in the Cold War and its spiritual dimension. It explores the biographies of the two charismatic leaders to find the sources of their extraordinary commitment to the cause of vanquishing of the “Evil Empire” of the Soviets. The Pope and the American President both barely survived assassination attempts, which gave them moral resolve and the sense of purpose. They both understood that it was necessary not only to continue to fight the Cold War against the Soviet Union but also finally to win it. They believed this was a Divine Plan and that they played two indispensable, mysteriously complementary parts in it.
For eighty minutes, Robert Orlando skillfully weaves a sophisticated tapestry of historians’ accounts, personal biographies of the two leaders, memories of collaborators and friends, and original film footage to create a powerful and persuasive vision of the 8th decade of the 20th century. He takes the viewer for a fascinating trip around the bipolar world – America, Italy, communist Poland, Bulgaria, and Russia – to explicate the backstage of the world events. He leads us through the corridors of power in Washington, elegant paths of Vatican gardens, and the dark labyrinth of the Kremlin to prove that what we take for granted in our past may well have unfolded differently, and definitely less fortunately, more than once.
Another strong aspect of the film is the combination of various art forms – interviews and original film footage of historic events intertwine with animated cadres, which adds to the dynamism and suspense of the story.
The Divine Plan is a masterful account of historic events, which sheds additional light on the official narratives. It is a good reminder to those who are slowly starting to forget the chilling times of the Cold War. To those who never knew them, it is an eye-opening lesson of modern history. To all of us who have lived through 1980s, it is an invaluable document and witness to the power of courageous vision, determination despite suffering, humility of leaders, and their trust in the Divine Plan of Providence.
One of the least-known historical stories of the 20th century is about an unlikely pair – a President and a Pope – who shared a deep religious faith, political acumen, and high-octane star power. During their friendship, both Pres. Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II faced assassination attempts, KGB scheming, CIA intrigue, and played major roles in toppling the Soviet Empire. This epic saga takes viewers behind the scenes of a partnership that changed the world, asking daring questions such as Was a pontiff and politician’s work overthrowing communism the result of inexorable political and economic forces? Or could it have been part of what Reagan called “The Divine Plan”? Told in part as a graphic thriller, this highly-stylized docufilm pushes beyond the boundaries of a conventional documentary and into a world where one’s core beliefs can influence history.
Robert Orlando, the founder of Nexus Media in NYC, is an award-winning film director, author, and public speaker with over 20 years experience as a storyteller. With a passion for religious and political history, he is committed to presenting factual stories about compelling people who were central players in the key turning points of Western history. His credits include the documentaries, Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe and Silence Patton: First Victim of the Cold War, each part of a series that also includes Caesar Augustus and George Washington. Orlando has also provided innovative content and stylized storytelling that strengthens brands for commercial and corporate partners such as American Express, Unilever, The Wall Street Journal and Conde Nast.
Cast of Characters
To solve the mystery, Orlando interrogates a crack team of world-renowned scholars, politicians, historians and journalists including Paul Kengor, Douglas Brinkley, Richard Allen, John O’Sullivan, Craig Shirley, Steve Kotkin, George Weigel, Bishop Robert Barron, Anne Applebaum, Monika Jablonska, Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, HW Brands and Cardinal Timothy Dolan
The Divine Plan Film Reviews
The Divine Plan at The White House
The Divine Plan Book Reviews