Some people will trumpet this news story as evidence that Mel Gibson is a “bad Catholic.” As mentioned in a previous blog entry, Mel’s father, Hutton Gibson, was interviewed for a radio show that will air on Monday and went off on a wacky rant about Jews, the Holocaust, and what not. But what most will focus on is Hutton saying that Mel referred to Pope John Paul as an ass. But this is the worst kind of hearsay.
The 85-year-old Hutton Gibson is apparently not in complete control of his faculties; his rants are the worst kind of lunacy. But suddenly he becomes authoritative in this one matter? Who knows what Mel actually said? Maybe he was calling someone else an ass. Maybe he was expressing his frustration with Pope John Paul’s handling of certain matters in the Church, without directly calling him an ass. Maybe Mel was actually referring to someone else and his father misheard him.
In other words, this is exactly why hearsay is not allowed n a court of law. It’s unreliable and subject to misinterpretation, misremembering, or lying. Besides, we’re not even given the quote in any kind of context; it’s just a paraphrase of what Hutton said. I don’t accept this as evidence of Mel Gibson being off the reservation.
Of course, Abraham Foxman, who has his own axe to grind against Mel, is troubled by his failure to condemn his father. I’m not, because I understand it. Mel probably loves his father, and it is difficult for a son to publicly repudiate and criticize his father.