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 Concerns about The Passion

1) In the Garden, when Jesus says, "I AM," the Roman soldiers don't fall to the ground. Divinity of Jesus omitted.

2) Peter calls Mary, "Mother" as does John (long before the crucifixion).

3) A couple times in the movie, Mary is shown to have a mystical connection with Jesus, sharing in his suffering, or so it appears.

4) When Jesus is charged with blasphemy, one of the priests says, "He says if we eat his flesh and drink his blood we will inherit eternal life." Thus, the mass (communion) is equal to salvation?! Since Jesus did in fact say the other things they accuse him of, the audience is made to believe that he really did say this thing also.

5) To relieve Pontius Pilate of his tough situation, Jesus tells him, "You only have power over me because of the one (the Father?) who gives it to you. It is the one who delivered me to you who has the greater sin." If we didn't know that the last sentence was about Judas, we'd think that Jesus is saying the Father has the greater sin.

6) At one point, Jesus is praying to the Father and Jesus refers to himself as "the son of your handmaid."

7) At one point, Jesus calls out to the Father and says "my God" instead of "my Father." Is not Jesus God? He says this long before being on the cross (cf. Matthew 27:46).

8) When the movie flashes back to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks with his fingers pointed exactly the way Roman Catholic statues have their fingers pointed -- the thumb and palm making a circle, with the index finger pointing out. (Looks like a number 6).

9) One of the thieves on the cross calls out the proper name (Gereus?) of the other thief on the cross. I don't remember ever knowing the name of one of the thieves?

10) There's some kind of weird symbolism with women and blood throughout the movie. In a very odd scene, Mary and Mary Magdalene are given a gift of linen from Claudia (Pontius Pilate's wife), and then they go to wipe up the blood on the ground after Jesus' scourging. And then another woman meets with Jesus when he's carrying his cross, she hands him a towel, he puts it to his bloody face, and then she takes it back and puts it to her own face. Also, she offers him a "cup" of water (which the Romans hit out of her hand). When Jesus is pierced on the cross, his blood and water splash across Mary's face as she holds it high receiving it as a special moment. Also, she kisses Jesus' bloody toe (blood pours down from the cross) and a bunch of blood is shown on her lips.

11) Jesus says (in the captioning), "Father, if there be a way, let this chalice pass from my hand." Chalice? Why not use the word "cup"? Chalice is a medieval term.

12) The movie is always switching back to Mary and what she sees or feels.

13) When Mary sees Jesus on the cross, she refers to him as "flesh of my flesh."

14) Jesus says, "It is accomplished" instead of "It is done" or "It is finished." "Accomplish" is a strange word to use here.

15) When the earthquake happens, the temple is broken in two; however, they never show the temple veil being ripped in two -- or at least it is not focused upon and is only part of the temple being destroyed. The temple veil is symbolic of the priesthood which is no longer needed after Jesus' death. Why make light of it?

16) When they take Jesus down from the cross, they show Mary holding him for a long time -- one hand mystically stretched out. Foggy clouds appear and the camera pulls back from the scene as Mary Magdalene, John, and others look like they are frozen in a picture of the scene.

17) During the movie, when Jesus is going through his trials, beatings, and crucifixion, he often looks over at Mary who just happens to be at every single scene. He recalls different moments they shared. At one point he looks back to a time when he was a little boy running around, and then he falls on the ground and scuffs his knee. Mary calls out to him, runs to him, picks him up, and holds him in her arms (much like the way she does after Jesus is taken down from the cross). Here, Jesus does not find comfort in the Father, but instead in Mary.

18) The movie is done mostly in Latin, and the music also has most of its vocals in Latin. (Many Christians suffered and died because of their struggle in making God's Word available in the common language of the people, not Latin).

19) The ending is kinda strange. All we see is the stone being rolled away, the burial clothes deflating of air, and then Jesus sitting beside the burial clothes, standing up, and then walking out. No message.

20) But the movie doesn't have a message, unless someone is somehow smart enough to piece one together from the words of Jesus from time to time. The movie cuts out A LOT of important things that Jesus said during the last 12 hours of his life, some of which explain why he had to die this way.

21) The very last thanks in the credits are given to The Legionaries of Christ and The Jesuits.

"It should be remembered that the Roman Catholic Church did not celebrate the victory of Christ in the Ascension. They do not show the apotheosis of Christ, rising into another dimension, into the clouds and out of sight. They chose to portray the suffering man hung on a cross, bleeding and broken, an icon of guilt and shame and a stark warning to anyone who would buck the Vatican’s iron-fisted control of the spiritual evolution of humanity on Earth" (Uri Dowbenko, author of Hoodwinked).

During the filming, Gibson, a devout Catholic, attended Mass every morning because “we had to be squeaky clean just working on this” (from http://www.challengeweekly.co.nz/Iss42-2003.htm).

"[Gibson's] a traditional Catholic – Latin Mass, against abortion – one who prefers the Church before Vatican II opened the doors to modernism and in the process lost much of what made Catholicism what it's been for 2,000 years" (Barbara Simpson, KSFO radio in San Francisco, and WorldNetDaily).

Gibson’s relies on the diaries of the 19th-century mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for non-biblical details of Jesus’ suffering. (from National Catholic Reporter, 11-28-03)

"While the primary source material of the film is attributed to the four gospels, these sacred books are not historical accounts of the historical events that they narrate. They are theological reflections upon the events that form the core of Christian faith and belief" (by PATRICK J. McGRATH, Roman Catholic bishop of San Jose, Mercury News, 2-18-04).

"This movie is emphasizing on every pain that Christ went through in the last 12 hours of his life. It's modeled after the catholic stations of the cross" (sermonindex administrator, sermonindex.net).

Robert Fulco, a California Jesuit scholar, translated the script into Aramaic and Latin for Gibson. Fulco, who holds a Ph.D. from Yale in comparative Semitics, ancient Near East religion and archeology, has published widely and taught for 30 years in Jerusalem, Amman and at UCLA. (from National Catholic Reporter, 11-28-03)

Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles gave Gibson an honorary degree. Why? Because he is a good family man, a distinguished artist, is making a movie about Jesus Christ and gave the best commencement speech Loyola president Jesuit Fr. Robert Lawton ever heard. (from National Catholic Reporter, 11-28-03)

Except for a special showing to several hundred Jesuits of the California Province at Loyola, it has limited its screenings to ultraconservative groups and individuals -- perhaps thinking some would sympathize with Mel’s traditionalist split from Catholicism. (from National Catholic Reporter, 11-28-03)

Communications professor Jesuit Fr. Ed Siebert, director of Loyola Productions, praises the cinematography enthusiastically, takes some exception to the gore, but calls the work “charged” -- to “go down in history as one of the best Jesus films." (from National Catholic Reporter, 11-28-03)

It was a screening for three hundred and fifty Jesuits, who had gathered in an auditorium at Loyola Marymount University. After the film, Gibson took to the stage, and, shuffling his feet and staring at the ground, asked the priests if they had any questions. Gibson later explained the reason for his and Lauer's anxiety: “If anyone's gonna kill you, it's those guys, right? We're Catholics, right? We're scared of the Jesuits. Every good Catholic is.” (from The New Yorker, 9-15-03)

After the film, [Dr. Robert] Schuller said that he had watched carefully for “who the Christ-killers were, and it was really the Romans.” Mrs. Schuller wiped tears from her eyes, and said to Gibson, “You have a powerful masterpiece here.” Before leaving, Schuller faced Gibson and, his broadcaster's voice assuming the tone of prayer, pronounced his judgment on the film. “It's not your dream, this is God's dream,” he said. “He gave it to you, because He knew you wouldn't throw it away. Trust Him... After the screening with Schuller, Gibson was scheduled to fly to Washington for an appearance at a gathering of the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic charity organization” (from The New Yorker, 9-15-03).

"[Gibson] then told me about something that had happened when he was building his church. He had wanted to fill the place with antique candlesticks and such, and he'd had a hard time finding them. He was in Philadelphia shooting a picture, and someone told him about a man who had a storehouse of old church items. Gibson called the man, and asked if he was willing to sell any of the stuff. The man, considering his celebrity customer, was reluctant. “Not if you're gonna put it in a disco, or fornicate on it,” he said. Gibson talked to him for a while, and convinced him of the purity of his intent. They did business, and just before Gibson left the man pulled something out, and offered it to Gibson as a gift. It was a small, faded piece of cloth. “What is it?” he asked. The man told him that he had a special devotion to a nineteenth-century Augustinian nun, Anne Catherine Emmerich, and that the cloth was a piece of her habit. As it happened, Emmerich had special meaning to Gibson as well. Emmerich was an impoverished Westphalian farm girl who had visions at an early age. She was so pious that when she joined a convent, at the age of twenty-eight, she was considered odd even there. Eventually, she began to experience ecstasies and develop stigmata. Her experiences attracted Church inquiries, state suspicions, and popular curiosity, and ultimately the attention of the poet Clemens Brentano, one of the founders of the German Romantic movement. Brentano made his way to Emmerich, who was ailing, and who told him that she had been awaiting 'his arrival. He wrote down her visions, including detailed narratives from Christ's Passion, and published them after her death, in 1824, in a book called “The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Six weeks after she died, Emmerich’s body was disinterred, and was said to show no decay. In Catholic theology, ecstasies are considered a rare gift from God, and Emmerich is proceeding toward beatification. When Gibson returned to his faith, he acquired, from a nunnery that had closed down, a library of hundreds of books, many of them quite old. He says that when he was researching “The Passion” one evening he reached up for a book, and Brentano's volume tumbled out of the shelf into his hands. He sat down to read it, and was flabbergasted by the vivid imagery of Emmerich's visions. “Amazing images,” he said. “She supplied me with stuff I never would have thought of.” The one image that is most noticeable in “The Passion” is a scene after Jesus' scourging, when a grief-stricken Mary gets down on her knees to mop up his blood. I reminded Gibson, who carries the Emmerich relic in his pocket, that some of his critics have pointed out that Emmerich's depiction of Jews is inflammatory, thereby imputing anti-Semitism to Gibson's film. “Why are they calling her a Nazi?” Gibson asked. “Because modern secular Judaism wants to blame the Holocaust on the Catholic Church. And it's a lie. And it's revisionism. And they've been working on that one for a while.” We talked of the nature of Gibson's faith, and I asked him about an aspect of Vatican II which has not been much discussed in the debate over his film. One of the council's most significant acts was its Decree on Ecumenism, which declared that all Christians, even those outside the Catholic Church, “have the right to be called Christian; the children of the Catholic Church accept them as brothers.” This effectively overturned the Catholic notion that the only true course to salvation was through the Catholic Church. I told Gibson that I am a Protestant, and asked whether his pre-Vatican II world view disqualified me from eternal salvation. He paused. “There is no salvation for those outside the Church,” he said. “I believe it.” He explained, “Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She's a much better person than I am. Honestly. She's, like, Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it's just not fair if she doesn't make it, she's better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it.” (from The New Yorker, 9-15-03).

"This evangelical enthusiasm for The Passion of the Christ may seem a little surprising, in that the movie was shaped from start to finish by a devout Roman Catholic and by an almost medieval Catholic vision. But evangelicals have not found that a problem because, overall, the theology of the film articulates very powerful themes that have been important to all classical Christians" (Christianity Today, March 2004).

Mel Gibson is in many ways a pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic. He prefers the Tridentine Latin Mass and calls Mary co-redemptrix. Early in the filming of The Passion, he gave a long interview to Raymond Arroyo on the conservative Catholic network EWTN. In that interview, Gibson told how actor Jim Caviezel, the film's Jesus, insisted on beginning each day of filming with the celebration of the Mass on the set. He also recounted a series of divine coincidences that led him to read the works of Anne Catherine Emmerich, a late-18th, early-19th-century Westphalian nun who had visions of the events of the Passion. Many of the details needed to fill out the Gospel accounts he drew from her book, Dolorous Passion of Our Lord. Here is one such detail from Emmerich: "[A]fter the flagellation, I saw Claudia Procles, the wife of Pilate, send some large pieces of linen to the Mother of God. I know not whether she thought that Jesus would be set free, and that his Mother would then require linen to dress his wounds, or whether this compassionate lady was aware of the use which would be made of her present. … I soon after saw Mary and Magdalen approach the pillar where Jesus had been scourged; … they knelt down on the ground near the pillar, and wiped up the sacred blood with the linen which Claudia Procles had sent." Gibson does not follow Dolorous Passion slavishly, and at many points he chooses details that conflict with Emmerich's account. But the sight of Pilate's wife handing a stack of linen cloths to Jesus' mother allows Gibson to capture a moment of sympathy and compassion between the two women, and the act of the two Marys wiping up Jesus' blood gives Gibson the opportunity to pull back for a dramatic shot of the bloody pavement. (from Christianity Today, March 2004).

Historian Chris Armstrong describes the medieval origins of Cross-centered devotion, which invited the believer to meditate on each separate event of Jesus' passion and each individual wound on his body. Long before evangelicals like Richard Foster began to experiment with guided imagery in prayer, those devotional practices also invited believers to place themselves in their imaginations into the biblical stories. These practices became the foundation for such widely practiced traditions as meditating on the Five Sorrowful Mysteries when saying the Rosary. The structure of Gibson's film conforms exactly to the list of the Five Sorrowful Mysteries: The Agony of Jesus in the Garden, the Scourging of Jesus at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying the Cross, and the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus. And it reveals the way that this film is for Gibson a kind of prayer. (from Christianity Today, March 2004).

Father Di Noia: But Maia Morgenstern's Mary is equally powerful. It reminded me of something St. Anselm said in a sermon about the Blessed Mother: Without God's Son, nothing could exist; without Mary's Son, nothing could be redeemed. Watching Morgenstern's portrayal of Mary, you get the strong sense that Mary "lets go" of her Son so he can save us, and, joining in his suffering, becomes the Mother of all the redeemed. (ZENIT interview, Vatican City, 12-8-03)

Father Di Noia: There is a powerful Catholic sensibility at work here. In his recent encyclical on the Eucharist, Pope John Paul II says that Christ established the memorial of his passion and death before he suffered -- in anticipation of the actual sacrifice of the cross. In Mel Gibson's artistic imagination, Christ "remembers" the Last Supper even as he enacts the sacrifice it memorializes. For many Catholics who see these images, Mass will never be the same. In any case, issues of originality entirely aside, Mel Gibson's film will undoubtedly be considered to be among the very best. (ZENIT interview, Vatican City, 12-8-03)

Father Di Noia: Looking at "The Passion" strictly from a dramatic point of view, what happens in the film is that each of the main characters contributes in some way to Jesus' fate: Judas betrays him; the Sanhedrin accuses him; the disciples abandon him; Peter denies knowing him; Herod toys with him; Pilate allows him to be condemned; the crowd mocks him; the Roman soldiers scourge, brutalize and finally crucify him; and the devil, somehow, is behind the whole action. Of all the main characters in the story, perhaps only Mary is really blameless. Gibson's film captures this feature of the Passion narratives very well. No one person and group of persons acting independently of the others is to blame: They all are. (ZENIT interview, Vatican City, 12-8-03)

It was Friday evening, December 5, 2003, and in his dining room John Paul II, together with Dziwisz, watched a big-screen DVD of the first part of “The Passion.” The next day they watched the second part. And the following Monday, December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dziwisz received the four who provided the preview to the pope. They were Steve McEveety, the film’s American producer, and his wife; Jan Michelini, director’s assistant to Mel Gibson, and his father Alberto, former anchorman of Tg 1 and a Forza Italia member of parliament. Both Michelinis are supernumeraries of Opus Dei. Jan was born, with his twin sister, in 1979, during the pope’s first visit to Poland, and upon returning to Rome it was Wojtyla himself who baptized him, the first of his pontificate. Since that time they have been very close, receiving many heavenly signs. During production, Jan Michelini was struck by lightning while was filming the crucifixion, and he was struck again on December 5, the day the pope previewed the film. On both occasions, he came away unharmed. The conversation took place in Italian. The Michelinis translated into English for McEveety and his wife what Dziwisz related from the pope. The key phrase is the following: “It is as it was.” Eleven letters to say that the film “is just like it happened in reality.” (www.chiesay, Italian news source)

On the 17th, two important newspapers increased the coverage. In “The Wall Street Journal,” one of the most famous columnist in America, Peggy Noonan, an old-school Catholic, the author of Ronald Reagan’s most memorable speeches, made public pope Wojtyla’s phrase “It is as it was,” indicating McEveety as her first source, Dziwisz as her ultimate source, and an e-mail sent to her by Navarro as further confirmation. At the same time, in the liberal weekly “National Catholic Reporter,” Rome correspondent John L. Allen Jr. reported the identical phrase of the pope, citing as his source an “anonymous Vatican authority,” to whom he also attributed the following prediction: “There will be conversions on account of this film.” The next day, “Reuters” and the “Associated Press” assembled further confirmation from the Vatican. And for Mel Gibson’s film, it was a beatification. By mid-December, half of the Roman curia had seen the film and been enraptured by it. Even before the pope’s entry onto the field, two very influential personages had expressed extremely favorable judgments: Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos (“I am ready to exchange all of my homilies on the passion of Jesus for just one scene from Mel Gibson’s film”) and the undersecretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s right hand man, the American Joseph Augustine Di Noia, a Dominican, in a long December 8 interview with the international agency “Zenit.” (www.chiesay, Italian news source)

Thirdly, “The Passion” is not for the sentimental: it is a film of robust Catholic doctrine: “For the faithful who see it, going to Mass will never be the same.” In a word, “The Passion” is a very faithful cinematic rendition of the gospel: “It is as it was.” (www.chiesay, Italian news source)

So what need was there to place the pope in the middle of this worldwide chorus of the film’s supporters that already counted curial prelates and bishops (the most lively being the Franciscan archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput), battle-hardened movements like Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ (the agency Zenit falls among these), neoconservative authorities of the caliber of Michael Novak or “Crisis” editor Deal Hudson, neotraditionalist pressure groups like the Institute of Christ the King and High Priest, and continental Catholic networks like the agency “Aciprensa,” which covers all of Latin America? (www.chiesay, Italian news source)

The Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs has prepared a booklet, Criteria for the Evaluation of Dramatizations of the Passion (June 12, 2003 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops).

[Gibson] said that he felt the Holy Ghost working through him and that he hopes the movie will have "he power to evangelize." These comments were made when he previewed the move in Colorado Springs - a city chosen because it is a national hub for evangelical Christianity and Gibson wanted to ensure that his movie was "acceptable" to evangelical leaders, like those at Focus on the Family (Gibson is a Catholic, so it's interesting that he would seek the approval of evangelicals rather than Catholic leaders). Gibson has also stated that he went to mass every morning during the shooting of the film because "we had to be squeaky clean just working on this," and, furthermore, that there were agnostics and Muslims working on the set who converted to Christianity (no word on what version, though). (source uncited, 7-2-03).

Gibson went so far as to build his own chapel in the hills near his home. (WorldNetDaily, 9-11-03).

Renowned evangelist Billy Graham has screened Mel Gibson's new film "The Passion of the Christ" and says the movie moved him "to tears." "I have often wondered what it must have been like to be a bystander during those last hours before Jesus' death," [Billy] Graham said in a statement released from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. "After watching 'The Passion of the Christ,' I feel as if I have actually been there. I was moved to tears. I doubt if there has ever been a more graphic and moving presentation of Jesus' death and resurrection – which Christians believe are the most important events in human history. "The film is faithful to the Bible's teaching that we are all responsible for Jesus' death, because we have all sinned," Graham continued. "It is our sins that caused His death, not any particular group. No one who views this film's compelling imagery will ever be the same." (WorldNetDaily, 11-26-03).

Jesuits rarely receive frantic calls from Hollywood megastars rushing to finish movies that are causing media firestorms. But the Rev. William Fulco is getting used to it, as Mel Gibson completes his cathartic epic, "The Passion of the Christ." (By SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE etc., 1-21-04)

It is crucial to realize that the images and language at the heart of "The Passion of the Christ" flow directly out of Gibson's personal dedication to Catholicism in one of its most traditional and mysterious forms - the 16th-century Latin Mass. "I don't go to any other services," the director told the Eternal Word Television Network. "I go to the old Tridentine Rite. That's the way that I first saw it when I was a kid. So I think that that informs one's understanding of how to transcend language. Now, initially, I didn't understand the Latin. ... But I understood the meaning and the message and what they were doing. I understood it very fully and it was very moving and emotional and efficacious, if I may say so." The goal of the movie is to shake modern audiences by brashly juxtaposing the "sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the altar - which is the same thing," said Gibson. This ancient union of symbols and sounds has never lost its hold on him. There is, he stressed, "a lot of power in these dead languages." (By SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE etc., 1-21-04)

Gibson is part of the Traditionalist Catholic Church, whose followers call themselves part of the True Church and deny the authority of all the popes since the so-called Vatican II reforms, the last of which were created in 1965. In a New York Times article last year, Gibson's father, Hutton Gibson, called that Second Vatican Council a "Masonic plot backed by the Jews." Others also said Hutton Gibson's remarks denied the Holocaust, which Mel Gibson vehemently denies, and have tried to tie the son to those remarks. Mel Gibson said, "I don't want to be dissing my father. He never denied the Holocaust; he just said there were fewer than 6 million (Jews killed). I don't want them having me dissing my father. I mean, he's my father." In response to a column by New York Times writer Frank Rich, who chastised Gibson for not showing his film to Jewish leaders who requested to see it, Gibson said: "I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick ... I want to kill his dog." After screening the movie for 350 Jesuits, Gibson later explained his nervousness to The New Yorker: "If anyone's gonna kill you, it's those guys, right? We're Catholics, right? We're scared of the Jesuits. Every good Catholic is." (Seattle Post, 2-11-04).

So is this movie just another “theatrical mission” by the Jesuits? Mel Gibson has not publicized his connections with the sub rosa societies known as Opus Dei and the Jesuits. ‘The Passion’ has all the earmarks of a Jesuit classical ‘spiritual exercise,’ in which the Jesuits subject the imagination of the supplicant with all the pain and suffering of the Christ,” says Tupper Saussy, author of Rulers of Evil (www.tuppersaussy.com). Designed by Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, “The ‘Spiritual Exercises,’” explains Saussy, “was an intensive program of psychological indoctrination designed to align individual thought with papal authority.” How strong was this so-called “psychological indoctrination”? Jesuit obedience “alters the perception of reality according to the superiors’ dictates,” writes Saussy. “Section 365.13 declares, ‘We must hold fast to the following principles: ‘What seems to me white, I will believe black if the hierarchical Church so defines.’ Francis Xavier would later describe this quality of submission in a vow that unintentionally summarized the Jesuit mission: ‘I would not even believe in the Gospels were the Holy Church to forbid it.’” In his book detailing the sinister history of the Jesuits, Saussy writes, “Embedded in the ratio studiorum [Jesuit educational process] were the elements of entertainment, of dramatic production – composition, rhetoric and eloquence. These courses interlinked with the Spiritual Exercises to intensify the experientiality of Catholic doctrine over Scripture and Protestantism. They resulted in a genre of spectacular plays that won distinction as ‘Jesuit theatre.’” Jesuits are historically known for their deceptions and political-religious conspiracies. Webster’s dictionary defines “Jesuitry” as “principles or practices ascribed to the Jesuits as the practice of mental reservation, casuistry and equivocation.” It should also be noted that President Bill Clinton was educated at the foremost Jesuit training center, Georgetown University. According to Saussy, Clinton’s biographer David Maraniss said “the President owed his formidable skills as a criminal defendant to ‘his training in casuistry at Georgetown University.’” Casuistry is equivocal to rationalization, “to cause something to seem reasonable, to provide plausible but untrue reasons for conduct.” Under the guidance of the Black Pope (the Jesuit Superior General), the first western translation of Sun Tzu’s Art of War was published in 1772 as The Thirteen Articles Concerning Military Art. Saussy’s position is that anyone knowing the Jesuit mission, and knowing the nature of Jesuitic obedience could observe world events which followed with an increased understanding of geo-political strategy. Did this military-political classic become the de facto Jesuit handbook for conquering the world? The Church Militant, i.e. the Roman Catholic Church, has been rocked by scandals of moral and ethical depravity for two thousand years, yet it has remained seemingly impervious. (Uri Dowbenko, author of Hoodwinked).

First off I would like to say that I rejoice that the name of Christ is being heard by many through this movie. It doesn't matter the motives of the people behind it good or bad Christ is heard so I rejoice. Philippians 1:18 - But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. But under this all there are some observations. One that as was stated it starts on 'ash wednesday' which is a roman Catholic holiday. In hollywood media I would have to say over 90% potrayal's of Christianity is done by showing Catholic priests. I have many people I meet who have a view that Christianity is just Catholism nothing else, that's because they have had hollywood media as there only real example to Chrsitianity in there day to day lifes. The movie will have catholic backdrops and could just help feed that idea of Christianity just being a Catholic faith. I am not against Catholism.. there are many catholics that are Christian, but the Catholic Church is not a good picture of what real biblical Christianity is all about. But beyond all of this my biggest concern is that we are resting on the arm of flesh rather than the power of the Spirit of God. This movie is great and is being and will be continued to be used by God in powerful ways. But it is tangible, a tool, something that if we have enough money to market! it WILL have an impact. I have just being hearing so much about this movie.. many Christian marketing groups have contacted me in helping them market this movie to the Chrisitan public and churches. Everyone is saying 'this is our opportunity!' and maybe it is in some ways. But how much BETTER would it be to seek God by faith and get on our knees and plead for sinners in our churches and communities. I believe the latter would be more successful. Are we willing to pay the price (not in mammon but in sweat and tears). I don't believe this movie will change the way americian and canadian society is going.. nothing short of a God-sent revival will do that. (sermonindex.net administrator)

The film's trailer, for example, shows the familiar image of Jesus, his torso bare, his head leaning to one side, his body slightly twisted, bleeding from multiple wounds. But the evangelists provide none of these details. All they say is "they fastened him to a cross." (They don't even say who did the fastening, or how.) In reality, this image of Jesus on the cross comes from the detailed Passion treatises of the 12th through 15th centuries, written to help the pious visualize the events at Calvary... the original antagonist in the earliest Passion Plays was Satan, despite the fact that he doesn't appear in the gospel accounts. (source uncited, 1-29-04).

According to Mel Gibson, events that occurred on the set of his move Passion, not to mention the rest of his life, have brought him to believe that the Holy Ghost was working with him. But should negative events, like the fact that the lead actor playing Jesus was hit by lightning twice during filming, be given the same consideration?
The BBC reports: Describing the second lightning strike, McEveety told VLife, a supplement of the trade paper Variety: "I'm about a hundred feet away from them when I glance over and see smoke coming out of Caviezel's ears." As far as I know, Gibson has described these incidents as possible signs that God wasn't happy with his project. That would be expected - when people believe in signs like that, they typically only acknowledge the signs which point them in the direction they already want to go. Any sign that might suggest a radical change or revision is simply ignored. (source uncited, 10-24-03).

Playing Jesus was a world of torment for Jim Caviezel, who stars in Mel Gibson's ferociously violent ``The Passion of the Christ.'' He dangled nearly naked on a cross in bone-chilling winds. During a re-creation of the Sermon on the Mount, he was struck by lightning. An actor playing a Roman torturer cut a 14-inch gash in Caviezel's back while they were filming Jesus' scourging. Caviezel dislocated his shoulder carrying the cross, caught pneumonia and a lung infection, and endured cuts, scrapes and backaches from the chains he bore. The 35-year-old devout Roman Catholic says he would not have had it any other way. (Associated Press, 2-19-04).

Richard Bennett, an ex-Roman Catholic priest who is now a Calvinist, provides a strong biblical warning against Gibson's new Roman Catholic/Jesuit movie, The Passion of the Christ [which is based on the visions of the Catholic mystic Anne Emmerich]. Bennett shows how this movie violates the second commandment and is an idolatrous, blasphemous and deceitful film, fully in keeping with Antichrist's [the Papacy's] aims to replace the authority of the Word of God [and salvation by sovereign grace] with the authority and idolatrous images of the Papacy] and its false religion of works, which God hates]. This film also renews the classic battle between the historic Reformed Faith [on the side of the Word of God and Sola Scriptura] and Romanism [and this harlot's images, idols and superstitions]. Moreover, Bennett notes, "In Catholicism and in the Passion movie, willfully putting together the sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the Mass produces a dramatic and a theatrical lie.") (swrb.com)

 2004/2/28 19:36Profile
Clutch
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Joined: 2003/11/10
Posts: 202
Oak Ridge, Tennessee

 Re: Concerns about The Passion

Hi Passionate,
You lost me about 40 miles back up the road until you got to:

"Richard Bennett, an ex-Roman Catholic priest who is now a Calvinist, provides a strong biblical warning against Gibson's new Roman Catholic/Jesuit movie, The Passion of the Christ [which is based on the visions of the Catholic mystic Anne Emmerich]. Bennett shows how this movie violates the second commandment and is an idolatrous, blasphemous and deceitful film, fully in keeping with Antichrist's [the Papacy's] aims to replace the authority of the Word of God [and salvation by sovereign grace] with the authority and idolatrous images of the Papacy] and its false religion of works, which God hates]."

NOW,we're getting somewhere.If the Calvinists are dis'ing the movie; Hey, it can't be ALL bad.
Besides we had this discussion a couple of weeks ago on another thread. Relax Richard, it's ONLY a movie.
Clutch :-)


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Howard McNeill

 2004/2/28 20:43Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
First off I would like to say that I rejoice that the name of Christ is being heard by many through this movie. It doesn't matter the motives of the people behind it good or bad Christ is heard so I rejoice. Philippians 1:18 - But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. But under this all there are some observations. One that as was stated it starts on 'ash wednesday' which is a roman Catholic holiday. In hollywood media I would have to say over 90% potrayal's of Christianity is done by showing Catholic priests. I have many people I meet who have a view that Christianity is just Catholism nothing else, that's because they have had hollywood media as there only real example to Chrsitianity in there day to day lifes. The movie will have catholic backdrops and could just help feed that idea of Christianity just being a Catholic faith. I am not against Catholism.. there are many catholics that are Christian, but the Catholic Church is not a good picture of what real biblical Christianity is all about. But beyond all of this my biggest concern is that we are resting on the arm of flesh rather than the power of the Spirit of God. This movie is great and is being and will be continued to be used by God in powerful ways. But it is tangible, a tool, something that if we have enough money to market! it WILL have an impact. I have just being hearing so much about this movie.. many Christian marketing groups have contacted me in helping them market this movie to the Chrisitan public and churches. Everyone is saying 'this is our opportunity!' and maybe it is in some ways. But how much BETTER would it be to seek God by faith and get on our knees and plead for sinners in our churches and communities. I believe the latter would be more successful. Are we willing to pay the price (not in mammon but in sweat and tears). I don't believe this movie will change the way americian and canadian society is going.. nothing short of a God-sent revival will do that. (sermonindex.net administrator)

Thanks for quoting me brother. :-D After re-reading what I said.. I have to agree with myself. Over your other points, I believe some are very valid and worthy to be mentioned. But dare I say many are non-sequintal and it seems you are trying quite hard to make something out of nothing in many points i.e. hand and fingers forming a six? he doesn't have 3 hands to make 666 so I don't know what the concern is.

Alot of the Catholic overtones where expected from my point of view, and I was reasonably impressed how they weren't as predominant as I thought they would be. "If Gibson was trying to convert protestants he failed miserably."


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/2/28 21:50Profile
Agent001
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Joined: 2003/9/30
Posts: 386
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 Re:

Clutch says, "it's ONLY a movie." I think he is right on here. A movie is certainly shaped by its producer and it will have its good and bad. No movie is perfect.

The point is that this movie is putting the passion of Jesus Christ at the centre of public attention and arena. This kind of public interest is unheard of before, so we might well use the opportunity to generate interests in hearing the gospel and Jesus' love.

(I learn one thing from the original post though: I must be careful with how I point my finger, because apparently there are people who would try to establish a Catholic conspiracy in minor details like this... *smile*)


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Sam

 2004/3/1 13:52Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
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 Re: Concerns about The Passion

Fellow believers,

ANY time I see "21" reasons given for something a red flag goes up. At some point we crossed the line from valid criticism to hair splitting. It was a stretch to get to 21- as if that number was the ultimate goal rather than seeking truth.

Having seen the movie myself I must say that I was SURPRISED at how many things were in the film that were actually true to Judaism in the first century. We saw a depiction of how some of the Pharisees (Perushim) of the Great Sanhedrin (Beth Din ha Gadol) OBJECTED to what was happening and were escorted out. The Jewish Encyclopedia enumerates seven classes of Pharisees, of which five consisted of hypocrites: (1) "the shoulder Pharisee," who wears, as it were, his good actions. ostentatiously upon his shoulder; (2) "the wait-a-little Pharisee," who ever says, "Wait a little, until I have performed the good act awaiting me"; (3), "the bruised Pharisee," who in order to avoid looking at a woman runs against the wall so as to bruise himself and bleed; (4) "the pestle Pharisee," who walks with head down like the pestle in the mortar; (5) "the ever-reckoning Pharisee," who says, "Let me know what good I may do to counteract my neglect"; (6) "the God-fearing Pharisee," after the manner of Job; (7) "the God-loving Pharisee," after the manner of Abraham.

They also asked the question from the Pesach (Passover) Seder "Why is this night different than any other night?" THAT WAS AWESOME for those who knew what was said and how it played out in reality. Honestly, it had nothing to do with Rome or Calvin; it is part of the unique identity of the Jews in the earth as God's people. Hath God thrust away His people? God forbid! I also would beseech you to be CAUTIOUS of how you uncover things about the short comings of the Church either Catholic or Reformed; because the fact is there are skeletons on both counts. Given your detailed critic of this movie you surely know what SHAME is there (Luther. "On the Jews and their lies". Calvin; Michael Servtus; etc.). Your issues are akin to me bringing up these well known things.

Ecumenicalism? Nay. What did I want to see in the movie? A true depiction of the first century setting that is in keeping with the customs that were kept within the JEWISH context of the story. They went to a reasonable effort in bringing this about. We must remember; we are Gentiles (goyim) who are grafted into the vine... they are the natural branches. It is not a Catholic story and it is not a Reformed story; it is a Jewish story in a Jewish setting with all Jewish characters save a few. Pouring our Reformed meanings into a Jewish story is not a whole lot different than what the Catholics did when the Church base was moved from Jerusalem to Rome. Suddenly everything went crazy.

Enough said. As for this movie... I was just NOW able to witness to a person asking me all sorts of questions about the Gospel. The person called me from North Carolina and I'm in Kansas City. They may well have been led to Christ. God will and is being glorified and I will not touch this movie if perchance I be found to fight against God (i.e quote from Gamaliel in Acts 5).

God Bless and Much Brotherly Love,


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/3/1 15:42Profile
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 Re:

Great reply Robert

Quote:
We must remember; we are Gentiles (goyim) who are grafted into the vine... they are the natural branches. It is not a Catholic story and it is not a Reformed story; it is a Jewish story in a Jewish setting with all Jewish characters save a few.



Interesting how we seem to have forgotten that.


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Mike Balog

 2004/3/1 21:53Profile
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 Re: Mary as Co-Redemptrix?

Quote:
God will and is being glorified and I will not touch this movie if perchance I be found to fight against God (i.e quote from Gamaliel in Acts 5).



This is the type of response I rec'd when I gave my honest reaction to the movie. My concern was the portrayal given of Mary in the movie and the role of her suffering. Yes, I do believe she suffered. What mother wouldn't seeing her son die in this manner? Well.. on second thought there ARE some cold people in this world. but you know what I mean. back to the 'concern'. Having studie a bit about Catholicism and there beliefs about Mary being a Co-Redemptrix I was a bit turned off about the focus of Mary through out the movie. It was Jesus BLOOD and HIS Blood alone that saved me from my sin. It was he that truly suffered and paid the ultimate price, not Mary. I've heard numerous people come out of this movie and mention how they were 'touched' by the scenes with Mary picking up Jesus when he fell, etc. Perhaps I would have been touched too had I not wondered 'if the underlying message was about Mary having to suffer along with Christ?'.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with criticizing the movie and lining it up with the Word of God.
Isn't that what were supposed to do? I do think the good outweighs the good on this movie. Because we Christians will have opportunities to share Christ through thismovie being so popular.

Although! I wouldn't tell non-believers about this concern. I mainly have told my brethren of this concern but when non believers ask about the movie I prayerfully try to share Christ with them.

 2004/3/9 12:19Profile
Nasher
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Joined: 2003/7/28
Posts: 404
Watford, UK

 Re:

I believe this film might be good in the short term because some people will ask questions and go to a Church to find out more, but I believe it will be bad in the long run because most of the film is not from scripture.

As Ron (philologos) has told us, the four gospel accounts all describe the cruxifiction like this:

"and they crucified Him"

The bible could have gone into great depth about the physical suffering of Jesus but it didn't, neither then should we.


I have seen the first half an hour of the film and am amazed that not much scripture is used in the Gethsemene scene, instead we get the devil talking to Jesus, this doesn't happen in the book!


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Mark Nash

 2004/3/10 6:02Profile
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 Re:

Skimming through this thread and seeing some of the objections to the film, I want to just put in some brief input.
I've seen this movie three times now, the last two times with nonbelievers. Questions do get asked, and the soil seems a bit more fertile in the hours...and days...after watching this movie. I've planted some seeds in people that are usually very adamantly against discussing anything even remotely related to Christ or the Bible.
I'm am among the many who quote Ravenhill in saying that "Entertainment is Satan's substitute for joy." But I tell you what, I was NOT entertained by this film.
What artistic liscense Gibson took with this film did not raise an eyebrow for me. In the garden, I felt that it really accurately portrayed what Christ was going through. I'm sure Satan was right there the whole way, and Gibson showed how Christ conquered him, from beginning to end. The personification of different things...such as temptation as a snake...was very Biblically done, and I wasn't displeased.
Using a woman to play Satan (supposed to be an effeminate male) lines up with the description of the adulteress in Proverbs (a personification of temptation and sin) and how Satan was supposed to be of the most beautiful angels. The feel I got from watching "Satan" on screen was similar to my reaction to temptation and sin...it's so beautiful and so desirable, but at the same time so eerily terrifying and creepy and just wrong.
Nasher is right in saying that the Bible doesn't go into the details of a crucifixion. This is because when the gospels were written, readers/listeners were well aware of the details, and it horrified them. The cross did not become the identifying symbol of Christianity until long after the Romans had stopped using crucifixion as a method of execution. But in modern times, when we see a crucifix and hardly a drop of blood, the vast majority of people, believers and non- alike, don't comprehend just how great a physical and emotional and psychological sacrifice it was. I had studied into the medical aspects of crucifixion, and it sunk in a bit, but only after seeing the movie (and realizing that it was still worse than what was portrayed on screen) did it REALLY sink in, making me all the more thankful toward the One who loved me enough to endure it in my place.
I thank God that SOMEBODY is standing up for our faith and going out of his way to spread the Word in the best way he knows how. Mel Gibson has endured SO MUCH persecution in Hollywood, and doesn't need it from his brothers and sisters in Christ, too. I have very few complaints about the movie's accuracy, minus that the scouging was worse in real life and that Christ was nailed through the wrists. His artistic liscense wasn't blasphemous...Veronica may very well have wiped His face and His mother was there...and neither of them nor any of the Catholic "saints" were deified as we usually see.
He consulted theologians, historians, etc...and went to church every morning, prayed constantly, really sought God in a humble manner.
Again...he really poured himself out into this movie, honoring God in the best way he knew how. If you close your heart to it, you'll close your eyes to the multitudes of people being impacted by it in a very real way.
PRAY.


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Mary M.

 2004/3/10 11:33Profile
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 Re: Concerns about The Passion

One more thing...

Before I go into this, wanna say a few things. I was raised Roman Catholic. I was Saved, however, when I was 17 (I'm now 19), and attend a Southern Baptist church, though I fall under no label or denomination...I'm "just Christian", 1 Cor 1 style. One of my majors is Religion, and I've studied the theologies and doctrines of Roman Catholocism. That being said...
I'm responding to that uber-long post by "Passionate"...

4) When Jesus is charged with blasphemy, one of the priests says, "He says if we eat his flesh and drink his blood we will inherit eternal life." Thus, the mass (communion) is equal to salvation?! Since Jesus did in fact say the other things they accuse him of, the audience is made to believe that he really did say this thing also.
Read John 6:25-59.

5) To relieve Pontius Pilate of his tough situation, Jesus tells him, "You only have power over me because of the one (the Father?) who gives it to you. It is the one who delivered me to you who has the greater sin." If we didn't know that the last sentence was about Judas, we'd think that Jesus is saying the Father has the greater sin.
Read John 19:11.

11) Jesus says (in the captioning), "Father, if there be a way, let this chalice pass from my hand." Chalice? Why not use the word "cup"? Chalice is a medieval term.
Okay, now you're just fishing for stuff to bring against the film. And you left out the last half of that caption...

13) When Mary sees Jesus on the cross, she refers to him as "flesh of my flesh."
Would you rather Joseph say this? ;-)

14) Jesus says, "It is accomplished" instead of "It is done" or "It is finished." "Accomplish" is a strange word to use here.
No, it's not. It's actually a much more accurate word than "finished" or "done". Go back to the original Greek.

15) When the earthquake happens, the temple is broken in two; however, they never show the temple veil being ripped in two -- or at least it is not focused upon and is only part of the temple being destroyed. The temple veil is symbolic of the priesthood which is no longer needed after Jesus' death. Why make light of it?
I don't think he made light of it...it looked pretty darned serious to me.

16) When they take Jesus down from the cross, they show Mary holding him for a long time -- one hand mystically stretched out. Foggy clouds appear and the camera pulls back from the scene as Mary Magdalene, John, and others look like they are frozen in a picture of the scene.
Yes, and Mary looks into the camera, which is like her looking out into the audience, as if to say, "It was your sin that held Him to that cross."

18) The movie is done mostly in Latin, and the music also has most of its vocals in Latin. (Many Christians suffered and died because of their struggle in making God's Word available in the common language of the people, not Latin).
...it was done in Aramaic, Greek, and Hebrew, too. "Street Latin" was used by the Roman soldiers. It was accurate as far as languages go. I strongly suggest checking out [url=http://www.religioustolerance.org/chrgibson4.htm#lan]this site[/url], which is really short (like a paragraph) and discusses the languages if you want to know more.

19) The ending is kinda strange. All we see is the stone being rolled away, the burial clothes deflating of air, and then Jesus sitting beside the burial clothes, standing up, and then walking out. No message.
Could you have portrayed the ressurection better? And I got quite a strong message from it...CHRIST CONQUERED DEATH! VICTORY THROUGH OUR LORD! If you got something else, let me know...

20) But the movie doesn't have a message, unless someone is somehow smart enough to piece one together from the words of Jesus from time to time. The movie cuts out A LOT of important things that Jesus said during the last 12 hours of his life, some of which explain why he had to die this way.
Like what?

Note: I wasn't able to respond to ALL TWENTY-ONE because I'm at work...but you get my point.
I was pleased with the Biblical accuracy of Christ's words, for one.
Maybe you should read through some of the gospels again? Know that my tone in saying this is loving, and in no way condescending. I have bunches of issues against the Roman Catholic church, and to be honest, think that they are who Paul is speaking of in 1 Timothy 4.
But as far as The Passion goes, I was impressed.
Looking forward to a response by Passionate.


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Mary M.

 2004/3/10 12:16Profile





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