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Word from Rome

posted by awelborn

John Allen on many things, including the Passion, which includes a fascinating little tidbit about one of the assistant directors, and this conclusion about the quote flack:

Reporters, myself certainly included, look like naïfs who have been spun every which way, or worse yet, like willing partners in someone’s dishonesty. If nothing else, it’s a wake-up call about the dangers of reliance on anonymous sources, a fact of reporting life in the Vatican. Officials here rarely speak on the record, so those of us who cover the Vatican are constantly dealing with unnamed sources. This incident undoubtedly has raised the bar on caution for all of us.

And then this, which, to my mind, is even more important and very true:

Speaking as a former Catholic high school teacher, however, what I can say is that the film makes a powerful impression, and is sure to arouse intense curiosity in those who see it, especially the young. Viewers will want to talk about what they see; they will want to discuss what happens in the movie, why, and what to make of it. One Vatican official who has seen the film believes there will be conversions because of it. That’s possible, but what I’m sure of is that there will be questions.

I hope, therefore, that the church in the United States is preparing itself to respond to this curiosity. I hope youth groups and small faith communities and Bible study groups and Catholic schools are preparing ways for people to come together, and not just the usual suspects, but people who ordinarily have little contact with the church but who will feel the need to talk

So. Do you think the Church is up to it? Diocesan catechetical director and other chancery employees are welcome to respond here, in this space, as to what their offices intend to make of this, as Allen puts it “teachable moment.”



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Franklin Jennings

posted January 23, 2004 at 4:26 pm


One Vatican official who has seen the film believes there will be conversions because of it.
There has already been one: me. If it weren’t for the stink Abe Foxman raised over this movie, I’d never have become a Catholic, even by watching the movie, I think. I would have dismissed it as a lot of hooey from people who were duped by a false-messiah.
But his furor led me study the movie, which led me to Mel’s religious beliefs, which led me to traditionalism in general and then finally to the FSSP indult.
So thank you, Mell Gibson, and even more, thank you, Abe Foxman!



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Liam

posted January 23, 2004 at 4:29 pm


Well, you can be sure there will be some “teachers” who teach that this is all really about “ca(r)wing and sha(r)wing”….



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John M

posted January 23, 2004 at 4:30 pm


Do you think the Church is up to it?
No.



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Phil

posted January 23, 2004 at 4:44 pm


A lot of talk about Mel Gibson’s movie. I assume it’s a good film and I’ll see it. But what about “The Gospel of John”? Has anyone here seen this movie? Any comments? Is it good? It largely went unnoticed and by the time I wanted to see it it was gone from the theaters. If there are enough positive comments I’ll get the DVD once it’s out.



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Franklin Jennings

posted January 23, 2004 at 4:56 pm


Great question, Phil. I will see it on DVD, but I don’t care for the translation they used.
What is really interesting is that John is usually considered the most anti-semitic of the gospels, in the Jewish circles I travelled in anyway. Yet nary a peep.



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Tom Mohan

posted January 23, 2004 at 5:18 pm


Hey John M…I am part of the church and I’m up to it, does that count?
I have a deep sense of a need to prepare for the ripples this film will cause. Film is a medium which carries alot of weight in the culture, whether that’s good or bad. I also believe that the strength of the impact will have a limited shelf life, so it is important to be ready to encourage alot of dialogue around this film and its message.



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cs

posted January 23, 2004 at 5:20 pm


Why should it be up to the Church to do the teaching? Most people don’t go to Church! As editor of our KofC council newsletter, I will put the Passion on the front page, along with the Lenten Dietary Restrictions, which we are supposed to observe BECAUSE of Christ’s passion. This will be a tool for each of our families to evangelize, at home, by the water cooler, wherever.



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Fr. Vierling

posted January 23, 2004 at 5:23 pm


As a high school teacher, I do intend on taking my students to the film. In fact, the indication is good that ALL of our students – 850 – will be brought to the cinema to see “The Passion of Christ” during Lent as part of a school retreat.
Geesh, give some of us credit! I am sure there are alot of solid teachers of Catholicism out there planning to use the film as a tool for catechesis.
God bless.



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amy

posted January 23, 2004 at 5:36 pm


You know what? That was a serious question – not sarcastic. I want to know. They say that Cav…whatever his last name is (the actor who plays Jesus) showed it to 1500 RC youth ministers – so maybe they’re prepared.
But also think the question is – what are we going to do for the unchurched or barely churched – not necessarily the Catholic school kids, but those who are uncatechized completely and come asking questions about this Jesus is? It is my understanding that the film has a strongly Eucharistic and Marian tone to it. Are we ready?



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Caroline

posted January 23, 2004 at 5:51 pm


Is anyone going to do any scientific research on the impact of the film or is all going to be anecdotal?



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Franklin Jennings

posted January 23, 2004 at 5:51 pm


Father Robert Fromageot, FSSP, was. If the rest aren’t, thats a sad day for Catholicism.



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Joe McFaul

posted January 23, 2004 at 6:27 pm


My bishop will be doing a joint presentation with one of the local prominent rabbis. I expect the two points of view to be very interesting.
And for all the griping about bishops (and I am mostly with Rob and those who are most critical) this is a positive thing for a bishop to do. I’m sure he won’t get much “credit” for it, though.



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Fr. Rob Johansen

posted January 23, 2004 at 7:44 pm


Good question, Amy.
I don’t know if the “church” is up to it, but I’m certainly going to try to be ready for it myself! This is a golden opportunity for parishes to do some evangelism!



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Susan

posted January 23, 2004 at 9:16 pm


For heaven’s sake, Amy, we’ll be telling them to read the “Prove It” series :-)



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Fr. Shawn O'Neal

posted January 23, 2004 at 9:22 pm


Are any of you based in towns/cities where The “Jesus” Project was undertaken? A film called “Jesus”, distributed by Jesus Video Project America out of San Bernardino, CA, was sent to every home in my parish area this past spring and summer (before my assignment began here). I wonder whether it has had a lasting effect on anyone in this community — in that I wonder whether people chose to attend a church for the first time (or for the first time in years) as a result of seeing “Jesus”.
I’m not saying that it is a bad film, but I believe that it is like many other films produced and directed concerning the life of Jesus. There is a typicality about this type of film.
I know that “The Passion of the Christ” stands out as a result of its director, the press coverage, being a major theatrical release, and because of its apparent quality as a film, but I wonder after seeing many films about Jesus, by both Catholic and Protestant sources, why “The Passion of the Christ” seems to be the main catalyst for discussion and possible conversion.
If discussion and conversion takes place, then all the glory to God for it.
Perhaps it strikes me that this particular film might very well be the succesful catalyst that numerous books and films have attempted to be for years. I am thankful that people are interested in this particular film although there have been numerous films produced about the same Jesus with, basically, the same storyline.



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Fr. Shawn O'Neal

posted January 23, 2004 at 9:34 pm


Additional notes:
The film “Jesus” I mentioned was released in 1979, I believed. John Heyman produced it and Peter Sykes and John Krisch directed it.
Now the following is where it really relates to “The Passion”:
On the video’s back panel, the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen is listed as saying, “A masterpiece.” Hey, why don’t we try to see whether he truly said that? We might have a precedent for The Great Quote Question here.



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Fr. Vierling

posted January 23, 2004 at 9:38 pm


My gut is that because of all the controversy over the Pope’s remarks (or non-remarks) and the continuing trashing of the film by SOME members of the Jewish community, chancery officials will more than likely play it safe, and back off from any public comment or involvement with the film.
However, what you will see, please God, is individuals out in the trenches of the catechetical/evangelization enterprise trying to seize the moment and make it an occasion of grace. I am hoping to stand in this group by using the film as a teaching tool with my students.
As I become aware of new initiatives, I will certainly post them.



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Pythagoras

posted January 23, 2004 at 10:16 pm


Well, since it is R-rated, Padre, I don’t see how you can take a group of high school kids. They must have their parents with them.



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Larry

posted January 23, 2004 at 10:21 pm


Will the use of Latin in the film renew interest in the tridentine mass ?



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Fr. Vierling

posted January 23, 2004 at 10:53 pm


The “R” is for graphic violence. If parents sign a waiver granting permission for their son/daughter to see the film, then the students can attend. I should also note that many parents have already contacted me URGING us to sponsor student attendance at the film.



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Jeff Glen

posted January 23, 2004 at 10:59 pm


The traditional Catholic Church (e.g., in the US — found in Monroe, CT; Post Falls, ID; St. Mary’s, KS; Cinci, OH; Spring Hill, FL; Spokane, WA; and hundreds of other small chapel sites — the catacombs, as it were — including Mel’s own Malibu, CA) is ready.
We pray conversions along the lines of Mr. Jennings’ (Deo Gratias, Mr. Jennings!) are in order. But even if they do not come — or are thwarted — the true Church will survive and will always be ready for those seeking the True Faith.



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Cheryl

posted January 24, 2004 at 8:41 am


I watched Mel Gibson on EWTN last night and he said he would probably NOT take a child under the age of 12 to see it because of the violence, which is palpable (and obviously absolutely necessary). Just FYI.



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michigancatholic

posted January 24, 2004 at 9:14 am


This film will play not only in church rec rooms but in public theaters.
Catholics (and Protestants) who have been taught that Christianity is all “ca(r)wing & sha(r)wing” are going to be shocked into some understanding of what it really IS about, I hope! Maybe there will be some improvement of focus, understanding, preaching, etc.?
Old-fashioned protestants are going to be crying during the movie because they take this seriously already.
The unchurched may be bothered and shocked or even converted to Christianity (now or later). But they might also be fueled up to hear the Gospel, not our generally complacent “ca(r)wing & sha(r)wing” nonsense. Currently RCIA programs generally stink. We’d better pay some attention to them……..



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michigancatholic

posted January 24, 2004 at 9:17 am


Pythagoras, the R-rating might go a long way in encouraging many kids to see the film.
If it was G-rated, they’d think it a cartoon, like the “ca(r)wing & sha(r)wing” crap they have seen in society and in CCD/sunday school, etc.



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michigancatholic

posted January 24, 2004 at 9:19 am


BTW, I think the fact that it’s NOT a cartoon is one of Mel Gibson’s major points in this movie….



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Fr. Vierling

posted January 24, 2004 at 9:27 am


MichiganCatholic, you hit it right.
The usual teen fare is “Cabin Fever”, “Kill Bill”, “Freddy vs. Jason” – and all feature generous amounts of blood, gore, and violence. As you said, among teens, the imprimatur for certifying a flick as worthy of viewing is ‘R.’ Amazing, but true.



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michigancatholic

posted January 24, 2004 at 12:16 pm


Fr. Vierling, I used to teach (Catholic)high school. HS students are great, but they’re not
@~ children ~@ and they’re not stupid.



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Fr. Vierling

posted January 24, 2004 at 1:14 pm


Exactly…which is why I am all in favor of them seeing the Passion of Christ.



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Joseph D'Silva

posted January 24, 2004 at 2:44 pm


If the movie pictures what is contained in the Scriptures,(“It is as it was”) even if grafically, it is worth seeing, because Christ’s real sufferings and passion have been beyond human comprehension. Thanks to Mel Gibson for giving us a glimpse of what the Lord went through to save us.
Joe.



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Tess

posted January 24, 2004 at 7:47 pm


Argh, when will New Zealand get the film I wonder.



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Tess

posted January 24, 2004 at 8:48 pm


25 of Feb as it so happens… Right, now to buy my ticket.



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Jan Cedric

posted February 22, 2004 at 5:23 pm


Dear Sir,Dear Miss
If you know adress or mail of Mel gibson
please let follow my message to him
First : My english is so bad and , please accept my excuse about it. normaly
i speak and write in french.
second: at the last of this file, you’ll find a sort of mail, by me ! ,
to all FRIENDS of me , Catholics Traditionnalist and Catholics prayer , we
are agree by the Pope JPaul II , in our order , “L orde des Chevaliers du
Sacré Coeur”
——————————————————————————-
Dear M.Gibson,
I hope you will find thsi message from me and my familly in Geneva Switzerland..
By this message receive all agreement about your movie and polemic about
it. in fact my Brother , dont forget, Noster Pater: in excelcis in Terra.
We have to protect Jesus Christ by our Live , all work and thinking are for
him , our nations must be come Christian’ism Republic, and everything about
JESUS CHRIST is good for all Christians
But, my hope is , I WANT TO GIVE HELP to you , to approach France and Switzerland
marketing ..
Give me this mission and i’ll do it
SURSUM CORDA
cedric Jan
Switzerland
GENEVA
++41 78 884 41 75
Phone Cellular



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Becky

posted March 5, 2004 at 7:52 pm


Hi, can you please help me?
All those who have really read the Bible, stand up! How many of us really know the Bible? Are most of us really aware how bad Jesus was Beaten and the story behind it.. The Jews alone did not kill Jesus, you and I were also the reason he went to the cross.. People don’t seem to realize that Jesus was a very Powerful man and everything was subject to his powers.
If you ever read the bible you would know that Jesus told Herod that he has no power over him had it not been given to him from up above.
NO ONE HAD THAT POWER.. Jesus allowed it to happen so we all could be saved.. So no single group of people nailed Christ to the cross, but a MOB like you, me and the Jews, the Romans and EVERYONE.. If people would read the bible and shut their mouths they would all see their name under the cross and not Jews or any single person, but ALL!!
Becky G
Chicago



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