A quote from Mel Gibson about the film when asked if it is too violent: "I think we have gotten too used to seeing pretty crosses on the wall, and
we forget what really happened," says Gibson. " We know that Jesus suffered
and died, but we don't really think about what it all means. Hey, I didn't
realize it either when I was growing up. The full horror of what Jesus suffered
for our redemption didn't really strike me. But when you finally see it and
understand what He went through, it makes you feel not only compassion,
but also a debt. You want to repay him for the enormity of His sacrifice.
You want to love him in return."
Some quotes from Christian leaders, pastors, and others who have seen the film:
"I've read the Passion narratives of the Lord and contemplated them and prayed
over them many, many times, and I've never thought of the crucifixion with
the images that I received while watching this," George said. "I'll never
read the words the same way again." (Chicago Sun Times, Aug 3, 2003) -Cardinal
Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago
I experienced moments of profound spiritual intimacy with Jesus Christ.I
would gladly trade some of the homilies that I have given about The Passion
of Christ for even a few scenes from this film. -Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos,
The Vatican, Worldwide Prefect of the Clergy
Every time I preach or speak about the Cross, the things I saw on the screen
will be on my heart and mind. -Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
It has been nearly three weeks since I saw the rough cut of The Passion.
It is still impacting my life. I can't stop thinking about it nor can I
stop talking about it. I have never seen a film that has so affected my
life. -Del Tackett, Executive Vice President, Focus On The Family
It is deeply moving, powerful, and disturbing. A film that must be seen -
although the graphic scenes of the scourging of Jesus are emotionally wrenching.
(From an email to Icon) -James Dobson, Chairman, Focus on the Family
This will do for "Jesus" movies what "Saving Private Ryan" did for war pictures.
Every Christian MUST go see this movie and hold Mr. Gibson up in prayer.
He's going to take a lot of heat for this project, but if we'll support
him, this movie could have a profound spiritual effect on millions of people.
-Paul Crouch, Jr., Trinity Broadcasting Network
This may be the last movie Mel Gibson makes. This is the ultimate film. It's
magical. Best picture I have seen in quite some time, and even people like
Jack Valenti were in the audience in tears at this screening. There was
about 30 of us. It depicts a clash between Jesus and those who crucified
him, and speaking as a Jew, I thought it was a magical film that showed the
perils of life on earth... They haven't seen the darn film and those of
us, every single person in there, and I'm not talking about tears, I'm talking
total tears. It is something Mel Gibson stood back at the end and took questions
for about an hour, and he is -- he told me he's tired of Hollywood. That
this is it. He's going to do it. He's going to do it his way, and this film,
I tell you, is magic. It's a miracle. It's a miracle... (In an interview
on MSNBC, July 23, 2003) -Matt Drudge, Drudge Report
I remember this interview very well, because it affected me that Matt Drudge was so moved. - Webhuman of this website (-:
Commentary By Paul Harvey - Radio Broadcaster Extrordanaire and Host Of "the Rest of The Story"
I really did not know what to expect. I was thrilled to have been invited
private viewing of Mel Gibson's film "The Passion," but I had also read
cautious articles and spin. I grew up in a Jewish town and owe much of my
faith journey to the influence. I have a life long, deeply held aversion
anything that might even indirectly encourage any form of anti-Semitic thought,
language or actions.
I arrived at the private viewing for "The Passion", held in Washington DC
greeted some familiar faces. The environment was typically Washingtonian,
people greeting you with a smile but seeming to look beyond you, having
agenda beyond the words. The film was very briefly introduced, without fanfare,
and then the room darkened. From the gripping opening scene in the Garden
Gethsemane, to the very human and tender portrayal of the earthly ministry
Jesus, through the betrayal, the arrest, the scourging, the way of the cross,
the encounter with the thieves, the surrender on the Cross, until the final
scene in the empty tomb, this was not simply a movie; it was an encounter,
unlike anything I have ever experienced.
In addition to being a masterpiece of film-making and an artistic triumph,
Passion" evoked more deep reflection, sorrow and emotional reaction within
than anything since my wedding, my ordination or the birth of my children.
Frankly, I will never be the same. When the film concluded, this "invitation
only" gathering of "movers and shakers" in Washington, DC were shaking indeed,
but this time from sobbing. I am not sure there was a dry eye in the place.
crowd that had been glad-handing before the film was now eerily silent.
could speak because words were woefully inadequate. We had experienced a
art that is a rarity in life, the kind that makes heaven touch earth.
One scene in the film has now been forever etched in my mind. A brutalized,
wounded Jesus was soon to fall again under the weight of the cross. His
had made her way along the Via Della Rosa. As she ran to him, she flashed
to a memory of Jesus as a child, falling in the dirt road outside of their
Just as she reached to protect him from the fall, she was now reaching to
his wounded adult face. Jesus looked at her with intensely probing and
passionately loving eyes (and at all of us through the screen) and said
I make all things new." These are words taken from the last Book of the
Testament, the Book of Revelations. Suddenly, the purpose of the pain was
clear and the wounds, that earlier in the film had been so difficult to
His face, His back, indeed all over His body, became intensely beautiful.
had been borne voluntarily for love.
At the end of the film, after we had all had a chance to recover, a question
answer period ensued. The unanimous praise for the film, from a rather diverse
crowd, was as astounding as the compliments were effusive. The questions
included the one question that seems to follow this film, even though it
yet even been released. "Why is this film considered by some to be
"anti-Semitic?" Frankly, having now experienced (you do not "view" this
"the Passion" it is a question that is impossible to answer. A law professor
whom I admire sat in front of me. He raised his hand and responded "After
watching this film, I do not understand how anyone can insinuate that it
remotely presents that the Jews killed Jesus. It doesn't." He continued
me realize that my sins killed Jesus" I agree. There is not a scintilla
anti-Semitism to be found anywhere in this powerful film. If there were,
be among the first to decry it. It faithfully tells the Gospel story in
dramatically beautiful, sensitive and profoundly engaging way.
Those who are alleging otherwise have either not seen the film or have another
agenda behind their protestations. This is not a "Christian" film, in the
that it will appeal only to those who identify themselves as followers of
Christ. It is a deeply human, beautiful story that will deeply touch all
women. It is a profound work of art. Yes, its producer is a Catholic Christian
and thankfully has remained faithful to the Gospel text; if that is no longer
acceptable behavior than we are all in trouble. History demands that we
faithful to the story and Christians have a right to tell it. After all,
believe that it is the greatest story ever told and that its message is
men and women. The greatest right is the right to hear the truth.
We would all be well advised to remember that the Gospel narratives to which
"The Passion" is so faithful were written by Jewish men who followed a Jewish
Rabbi whose life and teaching have forever changed the history of the world.
problem is not the message but those who have distorted it and used it for
rather than love. The solution is not to censor the message, but rather
promote the kind of gift of love that is Mel Gibson's filmmaking masterpiece,
MEL GIBSON'S passion for "THE PASSION," commentary by DAVID LIMBAUGH
How ironic that when a movie producer takes artistic license with historical
events, he is lionized as artistic, creative and brilliant, but when another
takes special care to be true to the real-life story, he is vilified.
Actor-producer Mel Gibson is discovering these truths the hard way as he
having difficulty finding a United States studio or distributor for his
film, "The Passion," which depicts the last
12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ.
Gibson co-wrote the script and financed, directed and produced the movie.
the script, he and his co-author relied on the New Testament Gospels of
Mark, Luke and John, as well as the diaries of St. Anne Catherine Emmerich
(1774-1824) and Mary of Agreda's "The City of God."
Gibson doesn't want this to be like other sterilized religious epics. "I'm
trying to access the story on a very personal level and trying to be very
about it." So committed to realistically portraying what many would consider
most important half-day in the history of the universe, Gibson even shot
film in the Aramaic language of the period. In response to objections that
viewers will not be able to understand that language, Gibson said, "Hopefully,
I'll be able to transcend the language barriers with my visual storytelling;
I fail, I fail, but at least it'll be a monumental failure."
To further insure the accuracy of the work, Gibson has enlisted the counsel
pastors and theologians, and has received rave reviews. Don Hodel, president
Focus on the Family, said, "I was very impressed. The movie is historically
theologically accurate." Ted Haggard, pastor of New Life Church in Colorado
Springs, Colo., and president of the National Evangelical Association,
"It conveys, more accurately than any other film, who Jesus was."
During the filming, Gibson, a devout Catholic, attended Mass every morning
because "we had to be squeaky clean just working on this." From Gibson's
perspective, this movie is not about Mel Gibson. It's bigger than he is.
not a preacher, and I'm not a pastor," he said. "But I really feel my career
leading me to make this. The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film,
I was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize."
Even before the release of the movie, scheduled for March 2004, Gibson is
getting his wish. "Everyone who worked on this movie was changed. There
agnostics and Muslims on set converting to Christianity...[and] people being
healed of diseases." Gibson wants people to understand through the movie,
they don't already, the incalculable influence Christ has had on the world.
he grasps that Christ is controversial precisely because of WHO HE IS -
incarnate. "And that's the point of my film really, to show all that turmoil
around him politically and with religious leaders and the people, all because
is Who He is."
Gibson is beginning to experience first hand just how controversial Christ
Critics have not only speciously challenged the movie's authenticity, but
charged that it is disparaging to Jews, which Gibson vehemently denies.
not a Christian vs. Jewish thing. '[Jesus] came into the world, and it knew
not.' Looking at Christ's crucifixion, I look first at my own culpability
that." Jesuit Father William J. Fulco, who translated the script into Aramaic
and Latin, said he saw no hint of anti-Semitism in the movie. Fulco added,
would be aghast at any suggestion that Mel Gibson is anti-Semitic."
Nevertheless, certain groups and some in the mainstream press have been
critical of Gibson's "Passion."
The New York Post's Andrea Peyser chided him: "There is still time, Mel,
the truth." Boston Globe columnist James Carroll denounced Gibson's literal
reading of the biblical accounts. "Even a faithful repetition of the Gospel
stories of the death of Jesus can do damage exactly because those sacred
themselves carry the virus of Jew hatred," wrote Carroll. A group of Jewish
Christian academics has issued an 18-page report slamming all aspects of
film, including its undue emphasis on Christ's passion rather than "a broader
vision." The report disapproves of the movie's treatment of Christ's passion
The moral is that if you want the popular culture to laud your work on Christ,
make sure it either depicts Him as a homosexual or as an everyday sinner
particular redeeming value (literally). In our anti-Christian culture, the
blasphemous "The Last Temptation of Christ" is celebrated and "The Passion"
condemned. But if this movie continues to affect people the way it is now,
amount of cultural opposition will suppress its force and its positive impact
lives everywhere. Mel Gibson is a model of faith and courage.
Some Favorite Links
Back To Pray For Priests
The Official Passion of Christ Movie Site
Free Passion Materials Available Here
The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Online - Which Mel Gibson Based The Film On
The Passion Of Christ Fan Web Site
How The Passion Changed Him - An Interview With Jim Caviezel Who Portrayed Jesus
Fifteen Prayers Of Saint Bridget About The Suffering Of Our Lord