POPE BENEDICT XVI has given his blessing to a new US TV miniseries about his predecessor POPE JOHN PAUL II after watching a screening of the project yesterday (17NOV05).

Benedict said the film, which stars Cary Elwes and Jon Voight as the late Pope, provided an important message about the life of the Polish pontiff.

He told guests at the screening in Rome, Italy, which included Voight, "I believe this film constitutes the latest example of the love that the people had for POPE WOJTYLA (John Paul's Polish surname) and their desire to see him again and to feel him close."

Scholars at The Vatican provided network writers at CBS with script consultations before work on the new series began. It will air in America next month (DEC05).