Apart from the he said/she said back and forth with the Vatican over whether the Pope liked The Passion, we have these continuing charges that the movie is anti-Semitic. And it has nothing to do with extra-biblical material supposedly added by Mel Gibson. No, the problem is with the Gospels themselves.
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in an interview that he has all but given up hope Gibson’s final cut of the film will omit problematic material from the synoptic Gospels. Most mainstream Catholic and other scholars now believe some material, particularly quotations and chronologies drawn from the Gospel attributed to Matthew, is not only inaccurate but also a provocation to hatred of Jews.
Catch that? “Problematic material from the synoptic Gospels.” In other words, these critics would have a problem with any movie that was a faithful adaptation of the synoptic Gospels. And notice how “mainstream Catholic” scholars are said to, essentially, reject the divine inspiration of the Scriptures? Neat move to pre-emptively label any scholar who says otherwise as out of the mainstream.
Whether or not you think The Passion is a movie you want to see or not, this discussion should make every Catholic, every Christians for that matter, wary. What we have here is members of another religion telling us that what our faith teaches is unacceptable to them and that we must discard it. That is just wrong and should be opposed.
Foxman says that when he snuck in to a screening of the movie, his worst fears were confirmed that Jews were portrayed as bloodthirsty and responsible for the death of Jesus. But Foxman say what he wanted and expected to see. Yet, faithful, unbigoted Christians saw the same movie and came away without hatred for Jews.
To use Foxman’s logic, we should have expected people to leave a showing of Schindler’s List with hatred for Germans, and to start persecuting Germans today for what their ancestors did. In fact, as opposed to the Jews of Jesus time, we actually have some Germans from the World War II-era still living so they must bear even greater responsibility for the Holocaust, right?
The idea that any Jews would leave Schindler’s List with hatred for all Germans is just as absurd as assuming that any Christians would leave The Passion with hatred for all Jews. You will leave the theater only with what you bring in with you.