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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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