Mel’s Passion again

Mel’s Passion again

Here’s an Australian story on Mel Gibson’s The Passion. It appears the reporter relied mainly on the New York Times story about Mel’s traditionalist faith and his father’s peculiar views.

What really takes the cake are the opposing viewpoints the reporter finds in Australia. If it were up to the rabbi and the Catholic documentary filmmaker there would never be another cinematic depiction of the Crucifixion.

    Rabbi Raymond Apple, from Sydney’s Great Synagogue, said that depicting the last hours of Christ’s life was likely to be contentious for Christian and Jewish religious scholars.

    “Scholars—Jewish, Christian or whoever—all question the credibility of the gospels as a historical record. The gospels were written decades after the events. They’re written from the point of view of their own period, with its prejudices and its hostilities. Therefore you cannot really say that you can just take them at face value.”

Any scholar who questions the credibility of the Gospel account of Jesus being crucified is not a Christian. He has renounced his faith. What this shows is that the rabbi doesn’t understand Christian theology. The Church acknowledges that it wasn’t the Jews who killed Jesus. He gave himself over to be killed for our sins at the hands of the Jews and the Romans. In other words, by representatives of all peoples of the world. How hard is it to understand? Yes, in ages past some called the Jews Christ-killers, but that is ancient history. Then there is the Catholic filmmaker.

    The first response of Peter Thomas, a filmmaker and Catholic whose work includes documentaries on social justice and spiritual topics, was that The Passion could be creatively interesting. “I can’t imagine how it could appeal if it’s in Latin [and Aramaic] unless the pictures are so strong they tell the story and [the languages] are some kind of mysterious music bed underneath.

    “But from a theological point of view, I find it quite repugnant.”

    Thomas said the church had shifted its culture towards the mainstream since the 1960s including abandoning the Latin mass for a vernacular version.

    “I think that what he’s trying to do perhaps is go back to the Latin and perhaps imbue the Latin with some kind of mystery, some king of magic, maybe even superstition, which it doesn’t have.

He makes social justice documentaries. Sorry to feed a stereotype, but I’m not surprised he finds a film depiction of the Crucifixion repugnant. Of course, there’s the usual misinformation: the Church did not abandon Latin. She allowed the vernacular, but Latin is still the official language of the Church. It’s almost as if the guy wills himself to misunderstand Mel’s goal: It’s not to hype Latin. He wants to make the movie as historically accurate as possible, so the characters have to speak the language of the time. Would he prefer the Romans to speak English with an Australian accent? What it shows is that the guy has a bias against Mel and against a traditional Catholic faith from the get-go.

I, for one, am looking forward to the movie.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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