Reclaiming the Memory of Fr. Mariano Díez Tobar, CM, the Genius That Made Cinema Possible

by | May 15, 2019 | Congregation of the Mission, News | 1 comment

Last Sunday, May 12, 2019, the newspaper “ABC” from Spain published an extensive report about Fr. Mariano Díez Tobar, CM. Both in its digital and print editions, the report, found in the “culture” section, richly describes the dates, places, anecdotes, details and story of the life, activity and, above all, the research,  findings, and scientific creations of Fr. Mariano Díez Tobar.

Mariano Díez Tobar (on the right) with another Vincentian father, Manuel Santín, behind some of his inventions – ABC

The author of the report is Rodrigo Cortés, filmmaker, writer and researcher of the seventh art. With a fresh, agile, attractive, carefree style, full of humor and affection towards Fr. Mariano Díez, he focuses on the “invention of the cinema.” He makes a historical review of the trials and challenges of the birth of cinematography and concludes with this sentence: “It turns out that the cradle of cinematography is neither France nor the United States, but Spain.” And, more specifically, it highlights and emphasizes that the direct protagonist and the intellectual author of this wonderful and revolutionary invention was Fr. Mariano Díez Tobar, member of the Congregation of the Mission.

The title of the report summarizes and perfectly synthesizes its content: “The invention of Fr. Díez: the unknown history of the genius that made cinema possible.” And the subtitle leaves no room for the slightest doubt:

“The ignored story of the priest who contributed to the birth of the most important invention of the twentieth century” : Fr. Mariano Díez Tobar, CM

Fr. Mariano Díez Tobar, CM , was born in Tardajos (Burgos, Spain), on May 21, 1868. In 1882, at the age of fourteen, he entered in the seminary of Sigüenza (Guadalajara). When he was twenty-two years old he continued his studies at the school of Murguía (Álava). He exercised his teaching apostolate in the school of Villafranca del Bierzo (León), in Seminary of Oviedo, and again in the school of Murguía. He died in Madrid, on July 25, 1926.

A famous doctor of the time, Mr. Rafael Navarro, expressed the following appreciation of Fr. Mariano Díez: “I have known few people as wise, as profound, erudite and well-rounded … one with such an outstanding encyclopedic memory. His knowledge was very systematized, but his system was a bit chaotic and confusing. He had the erudition of a sage from the Renaissance era.

The author of the report concludes by presenting a profile of the Vincentian humility of Fr. Mariano Díez Tobar: “They offered him all kinds of degrees and doctorates, which he did not accept. He did what he felt and thought, as best he could. He never gave importance, neither to himself nor to his ideas– not to his inventions, which to him were nothing more than novelties or curiosities– so, it was easy to forget him. Now it’s time for us to claim him. It’s the least we can do.”



1 Comment

  1. Dee

    Javier, Fr Mariano may not be the first or current Vincentian polymath priest but he’s certainly the most sensational in terms of modern artistic culture! I’m going to try translate the article I’m so intrigued!

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