amoxicillin safe for baby 9 months doxepin hydrochloride tablet eskinol and erythromycin viagra online generic cuantas pastillas de misoprostol se debe tomar benazepril for sale how close together can you take clonidine synthroid 88 price restriction on dexamethasone in india can i give my dog augmentin 875mg accutane 90 mg a day can i take valerian root with metoprolol augmentin 750 mg au maroc cyproheptadine india price buy brand name zofran odt augmentin antybiotyk 625mg bez refundacji cena can amlodipine take 15mg does naproxen naprosyn 500 mg have codeine in it metronidazole bp 250mg sirn atorvastatin 10 mg used for is prednisone safe for eczema during late pregnancy valsartan fertility generic atenolol 25 mg premarin cream morning or night singulair 5mg chewable generic long term accutane side effects sciatic milk thistle levofloxacin poisoning can i take prenatal vitamin while on metronidazole periactin vita tablets 4mg allegra 24 sailboat for sale generic lexapro prescription buspirone facial numbness cialis super active 40mg dosage maxalt rpd 10 mg with alcohol 25 mg metoprolol and withdrawal how to use viagra spray for men fluconazole and numbness can gabapentin be taken 4 times a day valacyclovir hcl sesquihydrate lasix iv to po ratio baclofen pill tv 4096 is its also consider a flexeril can i take propecia with statins amoxicillin bladder side effects in cats order italian amoxicillin should i go on propecia and rogaine kamagra oral jelly miglior prezzo nizoral shampoo in medical shop in india tramadol viagra fetal monitor online pharmacy laryngitis as side effect of bupropion inderalici con clonacepam contraindicaciones metronidazole 400mg australia paracetamol codeine escitalopram 5mg kamagra maroc what celebrity women take premarin terbinafine hcl 250 mg price how much is cytotec 200 micrograms in kenya cialis canadian pharmacy no prescription meloxicam 15 milligrams buy fexofenadine hydrochloride online inderal aumenta a glicemia i accidentally took two metoprolol er dosage of fluconazole dandruff buy roche roaccutane online uk can 88 mcg levothyroxine get you high viagra 50mg price walmart buy prazosin is valacyclovir 1gm same as valtrex 500mg doxycycline 500mg for chlamydia dye free antibiotics bupropion 200 apa kegunaan cyproheptadine 4mg buy clomid hormone can you smoke weed while on acyclovir paroxetine 40 mg body shocks cialis for premature ejca can you crush azithromycin 1.0 gm thuoc hyzaar clopidogrel 75mg design viagra no prescription india estradiol 27 cost of antidepressants without insurance adalat gits price ritalin benzos and zoloft 50mg of phenergan to 30mg of morphine anastrozole 1 mg price farmacias de costa rica precio cytotec buy cialis paypal payment what will be the urine color after consuming flagyl 400 kebaikan singulair buy doxycycline no prescription uk price of cytotec in davao and where can i buy how long does aspen fluconazole 200 mg take to work can citalopram hydrobromide get you high cialis australia review xeloda price india obat meloxicam 7.5 mg nine year old and prozac cialis 100mg review can i take kaopectate with azithromycin1000mg kamagra in kerala 10mg lipitor safe order cialis nz quetiapine without prescription is plavix contraindicated in g6pd nexium 40mg vs protonix 40 mg oxandrolone and finasteride coumadin purchase metronidazole vs miconazole femara price australia order lamisil pills can give a 5 lb dog 2 mg of zofran terbinafine hydochloride andmometasone furoate cream generic lasix side effects zofran every 6 hours misoprostol 400 tablet price buy lasix singapore montelukast monte max albuterol saline solution over the counter flomax 0.4 sr taken in the morning oratane isotretinoin 20mg au valsartan hct 80 12 5 mg celexa availability in bangladesh trazodone price how to taper gabapentine quads on clomid s sx of digoxin toxicity does amoxicillin cause frequent urination albuterol sulfate inhaler without prescription buy ethinyl estradiol online pap lexapro grand junction colorado herbal viagra in red package from germany cost of montelukast without insurance using metronidazole while pregnant metformin 1000 mg and pregnancy how many do i take 500mg amoxicillin dosage hair loss with prednisone withdrawal symptoms in dogs olanzapine induced hair loss cure xasten prescription clomid and effect on lining of womb herpes in throat treatment acyclovir dosage generic zoloft names what would happen if human took canine doxycycline allegra jarrett colts digoxin uk cytotec 200 mcg di apotik quetiapine fumarate 200 mg street value cost of ciprofloxacin liquid without insurance prednisone 5mg price diflucan 400 mg for penile candida how much nolvadex for gyno symptoms finasteride 5 mg tablet in india how to take flagyl and diflucan maximun amount of zoloft for premature ejaculation doxycycline monohydrate for chlamydia can you take viagra with micardis can you lose weight combining methadone with wellbutrin imipramine 50 mg side effects misoprostol 100 mcg for miscarriage is night sweats a side effect of doxycycline metformin hcl morning or evening related medicine in misoprostol via oral buy kamagra online from thailand lisinopril 10 mg tablets en espanol amoxicillin in south africa hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg buy online can you take antibiotics if you have anemia nama obat antibiotic buat sinus ear doxycycline hyclate to treat gum ulcers colchicine generic discontinued taking 500 mgs of cipro 2 daily zithromax iga deficiency singulair msd can doxepin capsules get you high where to buy prometrium in australia mobic and tylenol taken together prednisone z pack side effects voltaren 10mg what dosage of pediatric albuterol for cat que es furosemide 20 mg wikipedia best dose mirtazapine sertraline 25 mg images can wellbutrin make you feel emotionless levaquin 1000mg dose can u take ciprobid when pregnant viagra online pages edinburgh find free buy accutane 30mg orlistat capsules 120mg nbme 6 thyroxine jual cytotec 200pg doxycycline uti 150mg dosage salep voltaren gel what would happen if you took 10000 mg of neurontin baclofen 4097 tv ciprofloxacin pastillas buy nolvadex india can you take amoxicillin for a uti can you take cialis and coke precio del clopidogrel en arequipa zyban cost nz metoprolol 3 times day voltaren 75 mg retard bijsluiter can you take montelukast with viagra viagra sildenafil 50mg price nizoral pf benicar price fexofenadine 180 mg tablets gabapentin biverkningar hund ciprofloxacin 500 mg preturi sertraline brands australia can you take bactrim and macrobid at same time acne antibiotics price in south african rands paroxetine seroxat effects with caffeine intake men can use the fluconazole capcules can u use prednisone on dog while on antibiotics montelukast desloratdin dissolution method can i take amoxil for sinus cuantas hora debo tomar el misoprostol para un aborto buy estradiol online no prescription can u get high from clonidine patch can cialis cause cancer acyclovir 300 mg doxycycline during first trimester nexium over the counter equivalent phenergan nombre comercial obat cortidex dexamethasone 0 5 mg can you use erythromycin ointment for a toothache pain buy orlistat online pharmacy atorvastatin vs rosuvastatin ppt 20 mg dose of torsemide furosemide dose can i take poultry or milk while taking fluconazole from paxil 10mg to paxil 20mg can u give a dog amoxicillin and clavulante potassium can diflucan delay your period lamisil for jock itch cambogia extract with coreg parasites respond diflucan watson lipitor generic what is u took ic azithromycin after you ate how long does it take lisinopril to work how to treat canine diarrhea with flagyl obat sarep voltaren elmugel voltaren online uk asvagandija i nolvadex koriscenje can tamiflu be taken with lisinopril prednisolone and depression 40 mg per day cheap viagra online new york tamsulosina kresulix 0.4 mg costo diovan hct not covered topamax prior to surgery what over the counter drugs are equivalent to flomax droguerias que venden misoprostol en argentina amoxiliin 875 mg. for blephritis furosemidefurosemide adalah obat buat apa indomethacin colcrys pain reliever to take topiramate 800 mg propecia cheapest price australia mifepristona y misoprostol se vende con recetas imipramine philippines prednisone overdose 40 mg can u take zithromax for poison oak propecia costco coupon buy anastrozole no prescription uk buy plavix canada pharmacy colcrys without food buy accutane online 5mg levofloxacino 500 mg uk el meloxicam sirve para las hemorroides baclofen 10 mg for pain yahoo moon face 5 mg prednisone jowls i stop taking propecia and my hair doesnt fall out prednisone 20 mg 3 times a day augmentin taken without food nizoral ovules metronidazole benzoate compound cialis safe after giving blood zyvox dosage metformin overdose lawsuit viagra prices italy glucophage in type 1 diabetics with pcos voltaren gel precio ecuador compare viagra price glucophage 750 mg wine and seroquel xr and tinnitus dangers of buspar how long to take finasteride prednisone for itchy skin wellbutrin vs. paxil metoprolol how long before it works cytotec en sucre tamsulosin hcl 0.4 mg cap side effects where can glucophage be bought in south africa hard time cumming with levitra cipro 500mg 3 days is chocolate contraindicated in isoptin is voltaren max gel polish can you take a percocet with buspirone wellbutrin 80 pounds benazepril efectos secundarios taking folic acid with amoxicillin rooibos tea and coumadin 60 mg prednisone dog femara uk how much are seroquel worth 100mg us drugstore pharmacy viagra para que es valacyclovir hcl 500 mg is .25 mg of dexamethasone high how to use sildenafil citrate tablets glimepiride 2mg tablets walmart price metformin 500 mg 2 times a day can i take melatonin with coumadin strattera controlled substance acyclovir 800 mg tablet para que esbuenala levofloxacin tablet metoprolol sirve para la ansiedad bupropionxl hiccup obat dexamethasone deksametason 075 mg arimidex tablets 0.25mg buy kamagra in leeds uk atarax 25 mg tablet fiyat?± celexa 10 mg cheap viagra to buy uk plavix vs aspirin after stent glucophage neden zayiflatir orlistat usp 34 where can i buy depo provera without a prescription oxaprost diclofenac misoprostol 75 topamax and skin problems availability of linezolid in nigeria phenergan for cough 13 months kegunaan duloxetine thuoc nexium 24hr metformin prescribed without diabetes generic viagra vancouver elavil fact sheet atorvastatin hinta how long until avodart is out of your system if i take plavix after expiry date side effects lexapro 5mg effective clomid price costco should women take tamsulosin 0.4 mg capsule bactrim dose for uti liquid buy zithromax brand order cialis today zofran 5 year old lioresal 25 mg prospect fluconazole tablet 150 mg in pregnancy generic for lexapro anxiety lustral zoloft difference clomid sale focus piroxicam gel 10 mg tamoxifen citrate buy no prescription gabapentin 8 gel can cymbalta cause retrograde mobic tablets 15mg patient information acyclovir cost in india xr50 seroquel price levofloxacin side effects low appetite fluoxetine 10 mg drug information doxazosin costco antifungal fluconazole 150mg how to use tetracycline for arowana flagyl one day dose reviews 10 mg of lisinopril can prednisone cause blood in the urine farmacias donde puedo comprar cytotec en lima how many grams of liquid amoxicillin for std levofloxacin 500 mg for an infection in finger clomid 6 cycles fluconazole 200g otc south africa cual es la dosis correcta de 10 semanas con cytotec solubility of atorvastatin calcium

Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ: A Christian Work of Art Part II

An analysis of the motivations behind the controversy surrounding this epic film.
by Father Jesús Villagrasa | Source:
March 30, 2004 / The phenomenon of The Passion of the Christ could be considered--as in this article--on three levels: one, superficial, goes only into the cinematographic chronicle; another, could stop to analyze the motivations behind the controversy; and, finally, as a profound explanation of the phenomenon, one can delve deep into what is, in my opinion, the reason for being of the originality and beauty of this film: this is a true work of art and, more specifically, a true work of Christian art.

Click here to read Part I of this article.

The controversy before the release

During the summer and autumn of 2003, an initial draft of the film was presented in the United States and Italy to small groups of Catholic and Evangelic audiences, to personalities of the religious and political circles as well as to some of the leaders of the communications industry. The objective behind these screenings was to collect impressions from the Christian groups, calibrate the reactions and get away from the rumors and open accusations about the movie that had already begun to circulate. The producers wished to prove false the accusations of anti-Semitism and lack of historical rigor.

The issue of anti-Semitism

Profoundly offended, Mel Gibson rejects the accusations of anti-Semitic defamation launched against him personally and against the film. Without having seen the movie, Jewish organizations Anti Defamation League and the Simon Weisenthal Center have made declarations of this sort. Both organizations--Gibson points out--have, unfortunately, a long history of confrontation with the Catholic Church; both have devoted efforts to defame the memory of Pope Pious XII, and according to both organizations the Gospel itself is anti-Semitic.

"Anti-Semitism is not only contrary to my personal beliefs but contrary also to the message of my film. I don't hate people and I certainly don't hate Jews; I have friends and partners who are Jewish. The Passion of the Christ is a movie meant to inspire, not to offend. My intent when putting this on film is to create a work of art that can remain and motivate the reflection amongst audiences of different creeds, or of none, for whom the story is familiar," said Mel Gibson, the film's director and co-producer.

Gibson and Jim Caviezel are both Catholic, and the screenplay was written by Catholics, but the cast and production team are comprised of Christians of diverse denominations, as well as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and even agnostics.

Representative Christian and Jewish voices have come out in defense of the movie: the Romanian actress, Maia Morgenstern, who is herself Jewish and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, plays the role of the Virgin Mary in the movie. She stated to The Jewish Journal that the film is not anti-Semitic.

Dean Devlin, co producer of Braveheart, after seeing the preview screening said "I have found nothing in it that is the least bit anti-Semitic and I am Jewish."

Keith Fournier, constitutional attorney who has participated in important religious rights cases before the US Supreme Court, attended a private screening in Washington, D.C. along with other political personalities, and maintains that the accusation of anti-Semitism makes no sense.

The most vigorous defense of the movie comes from an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, Daniel Lapin, one of the most respected Jewish community leaders in the United States and founder/director of the Toward Tradition organization, which is devoted to strengthening the good relations between Jews and Christians.

In an article published in Jewsweek (3-X-03), Lapin confronted the campaign that some Jewish organizations have waged against the film and defends the fact that "these protests against The Passion of the Christ are not only morally indefensible but downright stupid." Above all, "they have little chance of achieving changes in the movie. Gibson is an artist and a Catholic of strong conviction of which this movie is an expression. Therefore, the motivation that has lead him to make this movie is not commercial. Besides, anyone who has seen his movie 'Braveheart' can acknowledge the profound identification of Mel Gibson with the hero of this epic story who prefers to be torn apart before he will betray his principles. Does anyone find it likely that Gibson would make a pact with the Jewish organizations?"

Lapin also considers the attacks against Gibson to be mistaken because "even if the anti-Semitic accusations may benefit some of these Jewish organizations in their fund raising tasks or benefit some Jewish New York Times reporter or other journalists attempting to make a name for their careers, it, of course does not benefit at all, the interests of the majority of American Jews who live in comfortable harmony with their Christian neighbors. Many Christians see all these attacks on Mel Gibson either as mere criticism against the film, or, for some reason in my opinion, as attacks against all Christians."

Eugene Korn, director of inter religious affairs for the Jewish Anti Defamation League and one of the "strategists" who designed the campaign to censure the movie with the accusation of anti-Semitism--and perhaps the most boisterous detractor--was forced to offer his resignation to The League in the midst of debate concerning the group's aggressive reaction to the Christian film.

Also against The League's campaign is the Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president and founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and Michael Medved, a film critic and orthodox Jew.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon, prefect for the Congregation for Clerics and one of the guests to the private screenings of the film prior to its release, declared in an interview with La Stampa newspaper (18-IX-2003): "Anti-Semitism, as any form of racism, distorts the truth in order to denigrate an entire race of peoples. The movie does none of that. Based on the historical objectiveness of the Gospel reports, it generates feelings of forgiveness, mercy and reconciliation. It portrays the horrors of sin, while contrasting with the gentle power of love and forgiveness, without making or even insinuating condemnation against any group. This film conveys the exact opposite. That learning from the example of Christ, there should be no more violence against another human being."

However, some people do not share the notion that the movie is faithful to history and have led the second front of controversy.

The issue of historical authenticity

Mel Gibson repeats, convinced that his movie corresponds to the truth of the historical facts, that "it is according to what the gospels of the four Evangelists of the New Testament tell us about the passion and death of Christ," and that whoever expects a faithful report of the life of Christ will not come out disappointed.

At the same time, he doubtlessly admits that for some passages he has been inspired by the visions of some "mystics" of the passion, especially those of a German nun currently in the process of beatification, Sr. Katherine Emmerich (1774-1824), who bore the stigmas of the Passion of The Lord and received extraordinary charisma.

She, herself, described her visions in the book "The Painful Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ." Gibson justifies his choice of depicting the crucifixion on the hands as opposed to the wrists, as it seems most likely historically, by saying that "the possibility that Jesus was crucified at the wrists has foundation, but tradition has represented Jesus with the wounds in the hands and, throughout history, the saints who received the Stigmas of The Lord, have presented them in the hands."

A group of Catholic experts and American Jews, seemingly with some initial backing from a committee of the Episcopal Conference of the US, declared that the screenplay of the movie contained "historical mistakes" and that its vision of the Jewish personalities was incorrect. It is surprising, though, that an inter-religious committee of experts would have based their opinion on a primitive version of the screenplay (a 'stolen' version and very different from the current, according to the producer.)

Paula Fredriksen, writing professor at Boston University, author of Jesus of Nazareth, 'King of the Jews: a historical study of the final twelve hours in the life of Jesus', agrees that the script startled them. "We pointed out the historical mistakes and -as Gibson had proclaimed his Catholicism- his deviations from the magisterial principles of Biblical interpretation. We concluded with general recommendations for some changes in the screenplay (The New Republic, 28-VII-2003)."

On July 21,2003, Mel Gibson held a meeting with Monsignor William P. Fay, general secretary of the Episcopal Conference of the United States, to clear up terms and manifest his good disposition (Inside the Vatican, 16-VIII-03).

A defender of the historical licenses of Mel Gibson uses a fairly weak argument that goes something like this: "from 'Jesus Christ Superstar' through 'The Last Temptation of Christ' we are used to film makers pulling bits and pieces of Gospels to recreate their particular visions of the life of Christ. If anyone is scandalized by this and demands fidelity to the gospel texts, they are labeled as conservative and reminded that the artist's creativity is not tied by the letter of the text. If anyone feels offended by the 'recreation,' they are told that, of course, without being offensive, but that freedom of expression does not admit censure or limits based on bruised sensitivities. But now comes 'The Passion', a recreation of the last hours of Jesus Christ prior to his death on the cross, and that traditional cliché is no longer valid."

The argument is weak because it does not confront the issue of historical authenticity. Certainly, in creating his piece, an artist is free to make many artistic choices. It is still fair, though, to ask why Mel Gibson introduced elements outside of the Gospel or outside of serious historical studies about the time of Jesus if his intent was to present the Passion "as it was." This pretension of historical accuracy, repeatedly declared by Gibson, can justify some critical intervention by the students of the Holy Scripture and of the culture and history of the time of Jesus. Otherwise, it is hard to figure that 'zeal', preoccupation and intervention from the students who are now devoted to judging the "historical orthodoxy" of a movie.

The director has not found himself lacking of renowned defenders in this controversy.

Ted Haggard, president of the National Evangelical Association, whose theologians highly value the precise citing of the Bible, declared that the movie is "the most authentic representation I have ever seen."

The Archbishop of Denver, Monsignor Charles Chaput, considers that "the movie is a work of art and extraordinarily faithful to the Gospel," as well as stating that "for Mel Gibson, making this film has been an act of faith and enormously significant (National Catholic Register, 14-X-2003)."

Augustine Di Noia, undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, after having seen the movie said that "without being a documentary but a work of artistic imagination, Gibson's movie is absolutely faithful to the New Testament: he incorporates elements of the Passion according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, maintaining the fundamental structure common to all four narratives (Zenit, 10-XII-2003)."

In each of these values there are elements of notable interest to make a balanced judgment of the movie: in it come together the fidelity of the facts, the artistic freedom and the depth of the believer into the mystery. The film tells the gospel story in a dramatically beautiful manner. The facts narrated in the gospels correspond to real events. All four gospel writers are aware of telling the historical facts, but even more so the salvation-related events. The gospels are a narrative of a story, penetrated by faith, expressed with faith, accepted and lived in faith.

Mel Gibson is an artist and a Christian; he is not a gospel writer--in the first place because he has not been blessed with divine inspiration--but he shares with the gospel writers their effort to communicate events that faith discovered, recognizes and confesses as leading to salvation.

Gibson feels entitled to the right to tell the story as it happened (arrived at through his convictions), because we are dealing with a message that is of interest for all mankind; and, each one of them has, also, the right to listen to the truth.

As an artist, Gibson feels entitled to create a work of art that could communicate his "artistic inspiration." Inspiration is not foreign to the life of an artist. Gibson has confessed that ever since he was 35 years old the passion of Christ has hounded him. At that age he had the grace of penetrating in the mystery of divine love revealed in the passion. This mystery can illuminate the life of men, especially the darkest and most mysterious dimensions such as his pain and suffering and the defeat of sin. The pain of Christ in his passion, the wounds on his face and body, so callous at plain sight, are revealed extraordinarily beautifully when they are discovered as suffered and endured voluntarily for love.

Is the film historically accurate?

Closely related to the controversy regarding historical accuracy is the issue of the violence of the scenes. Jim Caviezel, the actor who portrays Jesus, in an interview with the daily Globe and Mail assures us that the suffering endured by Jesus was much worse than what is shown on the film. There is a lot of blood; one cannot lie about that fact. And yet, the veracity regarding the events cannot move the audience away from the message.

"We won't get to a point where people get so impacted by what they are seeing on the screen that they miss the point of the story. We don't want that," concludes Caviezel. The violence reveals both the evil of sin and the greatness of the love of God.

The violent scenes will not provoke hatred and spite amongst the spectators because "one of the greatest accomplishments of this movie is its ability to precisely show both the horror of sin and selfishness as well as the redeeming power of love. As the movie is being viewed, feelings of compassion and love arise within audiences. It makes the spectator desire to love more, forgive, be kind and strong, regardless of obstacles; as Christ was even during his terrible suffering," said Cardinal Castrillón (La Stampa, 18-IX-2003).

Perhaps this is one of the biggest accomplishments of the movie: that in the horror of the passion, love can shine brighter than blood itself, and that before He, from whom one would hide one's face, can be contemplated with gratitude and love.

Rabbi Lapin cites some of Cardinal Castrillón's declarations to respond to those who accuse Gibson of incurring errors about the true bearers of responsibility of the death of Jesus: "Gibson has had to make many artistic choices to build up his portrayal of the characters and events that come together during 'The Passion', and he has completed the gospel narrative with the perceptions and reflections of saints and mystics throughout centuries. Mel Gibson not only rigorously follows the gospel story, but he gives the spectator a new appreciation of these bible passages. Thanks to his esthetic choices, he has made a film faithful to the meaning of the Gospels, as interpreted by the church (Jewsweek, 3-X-2003)."

The liberty of a believing artist, who wished to remain faithful to the gospel, resulted in a piece of work that all can appreciate. But it will be appreciated in a very particular way by the spectator who is in tune with the faith that has inspired this work of art. While watching an unfinished version of the film, Cardinal Castrillon said he experienced "moments of profound spiritual intimacy with Jesus Christ. It is a film that drives the spectator to prayer and reflection, to a contemplation that touches the heart. As a matter of fact -and I said this to Mr. Gibson after the screening- I would gladly exchange some of the homilies I have given regarding the passion of Christ for some of the scenes from the movie (La Stampa, 18-IX-2003)."

A few words from an exceptional spectator have stirred a long debate in the media. Did Pope John Paul II pronounce--or not--the phrase "it is as it was" after watching the film. The director of the Press Office at the Holy See, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, to clear the issue published on January 22nd of 2004 an official statement: "After consulting with his personal secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dzawisz, I can confirm that the Holy Father has had an opportunity to see the movie The Passion of the Christ ." The statement also positively describes the film as "a cinematographic adaptation of the historical event of the passion of Jesus Christ according to the gospel narrative." This description is relevant, considering that one of the controversies surrounding the movie had been its fidelity to the historical events and to the gospel report. And yet, the statement points out that had the Pontiff said the phrase "it is as it was," this should not be taken as an official endorsement: "It is the Holy Father's custom

The statement from Navarro-Valls "has a dual purpose: it seems to respond to the evident pressure to distance the Pope from any direct connection to the movie, while at the same time loaning it limited support (Inside the Vatican, 22-I-204)." The statement makes it very clear in its main portion that the Pope does not make public judgments about "works of art," because as they are of an esthetic nature, and not moral or doctrine, the judgment of works of art, such as movies, is outside of the papal competency.

History, faith and art seem inseparable in this movie. The specialist in Holy Scripture, oriental culture, spiritual theology or cinematography, will be able to make a detailed analysis of the movie and perhaps, especially of the historical loyalty, finding deficiencies or making objections. An analysis of this type is not hard.

What is notable is the artistic synthesis, the creative work of the artist. The Passion of the Christ is an extraordinarily beautiful work, if we understand beauty as "the sensible manifestation of idea (Hegel)."

One objection seems inevitable though; was it necessary to resort to the visions of a mystic that do not necessarily reflect historical truths to communicate the experience of faith? I would have preferred that Gibson not use those. But, on the other hand, was it that grave that he did? As a matter of fact, it does not take away from the artistic merit of the piece and it will not detract, possibly, from the results that the director, producers and members of the cast have set out to achieve. Perhaps those are the liberties that artists can allow themselves.

Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ: A Christian Work of Art Part I

Part III to follow.

Father Jesus Villagrasa is a professor of metaphysics at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

Click Here to Donate Now!

Join the new media evangelization. Your tax-deductible gift allows to build a culture of life in our nation and throughout the world. Please help us promote the Church's new evangelization by donating to right now. God bless you for your generosity.




Post a Comment
Write a comment on this article

Email required (will not be published)
required Country

Most Popular