Polemics & Exchanges

On Snapping Mackerels

Alberto Carosa’s article on “The Untold Story Behind The Passion of the Christ” (News, September) tells us less about Mel Gibson and his film than about the Tridentine Latin Mass and Mr. Gibson’s dedication to it.  Why is The Passion important?  Why did it stir up a cacophony of denunciations as antisemitic, consequently (and presumably unintentionally) stimulating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the producers?  Surely not because of the Latin Mass.  The Jewish critics were not upset by the use of Latin, even though the Romans and Jesus do speak Latin in the movie.  They were afraid that the long, drawn-out, and extremely realistic presentation of Jesus’ suffering at the hands of Jews would inflame Christians to commit antisemitic atrocities.  This did not happen, and that ought not be a surprise.  Although most of the Jewish leaders appear in an extremely odious light, it is perfectly evident that Jesus and His disciples were also Jews.  Even more significant, it is evident that it was the Romans under the imperial governor Pilate who ordered the atrocities, and it was Roman soldiers who performed them.

From my perspective, the film brought home to millions of viewers the reality of what Jesus suffered.  Viewers simply could not avoid...

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