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The Passion Of “The Passion” (The Passion of the Christ)
opinioneditorials ^ | February 28, 2004 | Frank Salvato

Posted on 02/28/2004 2:49:01 AM PST by miltonim

Mel Gibson’s film offering The Passion Of The Christ is more than a movie; it is an event. It is an event that people are flocking to, to witness, to experience, out of curiosity and in search of answers. The movie is powerful. It can be considered controversial and troubling but it is only anti-Semitic if the message is missed. It is a vehicle that will embrace each person on an intensely personal level. To see the movie with a crowd of several hundred people, even with those whom you love and call family, is to see it alone.

I must tell you all, I am no theologian. To that extent I have to confess that I am a believer but a non-practicing Catholic and by that I mean that I believe in all of the things that Catholicism stands for but am rather delinquent when it comes to going to church and adhering to the practices that the truly faithful find themselves compelled to perform. I have read the Bible and I attended Catholic school for a portion of my educational experience. I am familiar with the Scriptures but I have also “given up giving up things” for Lent. I am by no means the best Catholic, if there is such a thing, but I am also by no means the worst.

The Passion Of The Christ was an incredibly moving event for me. In a strange sort of way I found myself nervous to see it and rightly so. All accounts from those who had been afforded the opportunity to see it before its official release conveyed that the movie was brutal, violent, thought provoking and disturbing. But I suppose what bothered me, what haunted me the most before going into the movie was the fact that what I was about to see could very well change the way that I view religion, how I view the world, how I view those involved with some of the more serious events of the day and most importantly, how I view myself. Not only could this experience serve as an affirmation to my faith as a Catholic but it could also serve as a vehicle that would demand an examination of myself, what I stand for and who I will choose to be in the future. Having now seen the movie, having experienced it, I find that I was correct in feeling apprehensive but thankful that I had the courage to confront my fears.

Is the movie brutal? Is it violent? Absolutely, almost sickeningly so. Is Mel Gibson justified in his use of the violence, the level to which it rises? Most definitely. The level of violence that Gibson uses to tell this story of the ages is almost needed to define the kind of “ultimate crime” that was perpetrated against Jesus Christ. The violence is relentless. Mercifully, Gibson affords us some escape from time to time through the film. But like life, and death for that matter, the escape is very brief and the stark reality of the matter soon returns. Some say they grew numb to the violence. I for one did not. With every stroke of the whip, with every strike of the chains, with every nail pounded through the flesh of a man who professed that we should “love our enemies for if we do not what reward could we possibly receive,” I felt the pain, the injustice, the scourge. The level of violence that Gibson used was shocking but it needed to be shocking for we, people who have grown numb to our own enjoyment of senseless violence, needed to be shocked, we needed to be confronted with the true definition of violence.

The film was a painful film to watch in the sense that it afforded us all the chance to confront our humanity, or the weakness of humanity, face to face, one on one. We were offered the chance to see that all human beings regardless of religion can fall prey to the narcissism of opportunity, the self-absorption of power, the allure and false satisfaction of bearing false witness, the ease of propagating untruths for our own gain and the hopelessness of not being able to comprehend something larger than ourselves. We were offered an honest glimpse of just how cruel and relentless we as a species can be.

Perhaps the most intense and gut-wrenchingly painful portion of the film, at least for me, was feeling the events as they took place from The Virgin Mary’s point of view. The incredible performance by Maia Morgenstern literally devastated me, as well as a majority if not all of the others in the audience. The idea that a Mother would have to helplessly bear witness to her son’s betrayal, persecution, torment and crucifixion was inconceivable. To know that this type of relentless persecution exists still today is a testimony to our own inhumanity and our apathy toward doing what we know to be right, no matter the cost.

But for all the brutality, all the violence, all the malevolence, betrayal, pain, suffering, injustice and outrage, through all of the darkness and evil that exists in this motion picture, it was impossible to escape the true message that is delivered to us through this film. No matter what your religious background or involvement it was impossible to escape the fact that this film is about the definition of unconditional love. It is about the level of sacrifice that unconditional love can endure. Through it all, through the intense battle of good verses evil, the battle for humanity between entities that some among us cannot comprehend, a battle that dominates this film and the ideology for which Jesus Christ stands, the message that one inevitably has to take away from the experience is that of an unconditional love of The Father for all of us, for all among us, in perpetuity. Those who would charge that this film is anything else have been blind to the message and have fallen prey to the ills of humanity as mentioned above.

Mel Gibson is to be not only congratulated for producing probably one of the most brilliant and important films ever created but he is also to be thanked for having the courage to produce such an incredibly powerful medium for a message that is so in need of being heard today. Those who would attack him for his creation stand in false witness with those who stood in contrived judgment of a “man” who commanded us all to love our enemies, a “man” who accepted the brutality and injustice of those He chose to love rather than forsake.

The message is clear, as clear as it was all those years ago. For those who cannot see the message for the vehicle I say this; I will pray that one day very soon you have a revelation to what the message is, no matter what faith you choose to embrace. And please remember, that is coming from a man who admits he isn’t the best Catholic out there. To the Lord Jesus I confess in earnest that I need to thank You and appreciate You better than I have for Your passion. I am moved by You. And that is coming from a man who understands he is not the best Catholic out there but who believes.

###

Frank Salvato is a political media consultant, a freelance writer from the Midwest and the Managing Editor for www.TheRant.us . He is a contributing writer to The Washington Dispatch, OpinionEditorials.com and AmericanDaily.com. He has appeared as a guest panelist on The O’Reilly Factor and his pieces are regularly featured in Townhall.com and occasionally featured in The Washington Times as well as other national publications.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: christ; gibson; mel; melgibson; movie; passion

1 posted on 02/28/2004 2:49:01 AM PST by miltonim
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To: miltonim
In a strange sort of way I found myself nervous to see it and rightly so.

Some people that I talked to had those same feelings. I'll be seeing it on Sunday. I heard a movie critic on Scarborough say last night that she was overwhelmed by the public response and would NEVER have predicted it.

2 posted on 02/28/2004 4:05:13 AM PST by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: miltonim
An exceptional and truthful review.
3 posted on 02/28/2004 4:18:40 AM PST by KeyWest
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To: miltonim
This movie is so HUGE. I predict that the Hollyweird Establishment won't wait until next years' Oscars to smear it but will launch an all out blitz against Mel at this week's ceremonies. Not that their rants are likely to do anything but give The Passion even more free publicity. In their blind and overwhelming narcissism, the little stars and starlets actually think that their opinions carry weight outside of their own tiny bubble worlds. But if you watch the AA's this year, which I don't plan to do myself, you will be able to discern PURE EVIL lurking behind all the tinsel and spotlights. I suggest you spare yourselves and read about it later on FR.
4 posted on 02/28/2004 4:25:11 AM PST by NaughtiusMaximus (i)
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To: NaughtiusMaximus
Very much looking forward to seeing it. It's great to see Hollywood put out a personal film of religious devotion. I hope more stars try to do the same! Kudos to Gibson--being Christian is hardly chic in Hollywood, it took a lot of guts.
5 posted on 02/28/2004 4:38:10 AM PST by Semper_guy (no trolling, just talkin'...)
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To: All
Haven't seen it yet, but noticed that it copped a fair bit of flak in the media, both from film critics and religous activists (who complained about latent anti-semitism).
6 posted on 02/28/2004 4:38:47 AM PST by Bazooka (No news from the Western Front)
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To: NaughtiusMaximus
I predict that the Hollyweird Establishment won't wait until next years' Oscars to smear it but will launch an all out blitz against Mel at this week's ceremonies.

Don't bet the mortgage on that one. Mel will probably be in attendance but I don't think any of them have the guts to come out swinging on the heels of the movie making $100mil in 5 days. They would be in friendly territory inside, and then will have to walk out into the lions den after the show.

I don;t even expect shots at Dubya. These guys are arrogant but not that stupid. Momentum is shifting away from them. Expect one joker, though, to thank their homosexual lover and make a quip about same-sex marriage, but nothing else.

7 posted on 02/28/2004 4:42:48 AM PST by HitmanLV (I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.)
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To: miltonim; american colleen; sinkspur; Lady In Blue; Salvation; CAtholic Family Association; ...
The flashback scenes are the ones that have the most effect as they put the moment into perspective.

Maia Morgenstern gave a magnificent performance in bringing Mary to life!

But the one scene that grabbed me was Peter, after he realizes that he has just denied Christ 3 times. He slumps down against a pillar, eyes glazed over, mouth open, body trembling. He portrays the weaness in all of us, our commitment never to sin again, only to repeat the offenses over and over again.

Catholic Ping - let me know if you want on/off this list


8 posted on 02/28/2004 4:48:43 AM PST by NYer (Ad Jesum per Mariam)
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To: Dr. Scarpetta
I heard a movie critic on Scarborough say last night that she was overwhelmed by the public response and would NEVER have predicted it.

That's cause these types live in their own insolated world and are out of touch with the average American

Course since the American public still makes it profitable for Hollywood to put out the slop they do by patronizing the movies and renting DVDs etc what else would they think

I might also add I wonder how many of the faithful seeing this movie vote for the Godless left wing democrats or abortion loving politicians
9 posted on 02/28/2004 4:50:01 AM PST by uncbob
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To: uncbob
The Local Washington DC critic on channel gave it 2 and half stars.
10 posted on 02/28/2004 4:55:09 AM PST by sgtbono2002 (I aint wrong, I aint sorry , and I am probably going to do it again.)
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To: NaughtiusMaximus
NM I am expecting the same thing at this weekend's Oscar's. I fully expect for some of these celebs to make sarcastic remarks about the Passion whne they accept their Oscar (although it will be in between the Bush bushing).
11 posted on 02/28/2004 5:05:52 AM PST by Lanza
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To: sgtbono2002
The Houston Chronicle film critic gave it an "F."

I saw it, and it was awesome. I want and need to see it again. I really don't think you can intake it all one time (especially reading subtitles). I plan on going again, but not in the next few days. The theatre is sold out- even for matinees.
12 posted on 02/28/2004 5:08:45 AM PST by Lanza
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To: miltonim
The movie was incredible. All the scenes keep replaying in my head (we saw it two days ago) but 2 scenes keep repeating themselves to me, both of which made me cry. The first was Mary, who was compelled to wipe the courtyard of Christ's blood after the flagellation, and the other scene was the tear that fell from heaven as the camera panned down from far above the Crucifixion site and when it hit the earth, a terrible earthquake shook the world....
13 posted on 02/28/2004 5:08:54 AM PST by NewHampshireDuo
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To: NaughtiusMaximus
"but will launch an all out blitz against Mel at this week's ceremonies"

Hollywood also knows that we don't and won't butter their bread. They will see this as a fluke because the majority of folk who attended Mel's movie are not movie-goers (tho we used to be) and will never be again. But there are still some good and not so good Catholics and Protestants in the audience of the Oscars so we might not see them stoop too low in public.

14 posted on 02/28/2004 5:10:56 AM PST by NTegraT (and I am still seeing The Passion of the Christ.)
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To: All
The Left Wingys are falling all over themselves to label the movie anti-semetic because they want to discredit what they see as a mobilization of the Christain Right. Left wing Jews like Carl Bernstein act like the movie is aimed at painting the Jews as Killers of Christ & thus fueling anti-Jew sentiments. One Rabbi stated that it would increase the hatred for Jews among the Arabs. :-) Making a Jew hating Arab hate a Jew more is quite a trick. Another lefty Jew, Alan Colmes is ranting on & on about the anti-Jew movie as he calls it. The reality is that Christains are the best friends the Jews ever had. Another reality is that the Facist Left always wants to silence Christains.
15 posted on 02/28/2004 5:22:48 AM PST by USMARINE6 ("Some Things Just Are")
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To: uncbob
I might also add I wonder how many of the faithful seeing this movie vote for the Godless left wing democrats or abortion loving politicians

I know two of those people.

16 posted on 02/28/2004 5:23:08 AM PST by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: NYer
My favorite scene?: A single drop of water, perhaps a tear of the Father, falls to earth upon the death of Jesus... and rips the world apart, sending the arrogant Satan screaming in rage over the forgiveness of sin.
17 posted on 02/28/2004 5:26:16 AM PST by FormerACLUmember (Man rises to greatness if greatness is expected of him)
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To: miltonim
Great article about the film. Very true.

I saw the film last night and I still have scenes rushing through my head.

Yes, it was brutal, yes, it was graphic. Yes, I cried during the scourging..and yes, I can truly say that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Go see the film. It will change you!

18 posted on 02/28/2004 5:26:24 AM PST by GulfWar1Vet (Do you believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life?)
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To: Dr. Scarpetta
In a strange sort of way I found myself nervous to see it and rightly so. On the day I knew I was going to see it (Wednesday) I told myself from time to time "This is going to be rough." I was trying to gird myself so that I wouldn't cry - I'd heard enough to know what was coming. I was going to see it with my sister and I didn't like that - I wanted to be able to cry if I wanted but I wouldn't do that if she was next to me. I get teary in movies from time to time but I don't tell my sister or my parents. But fortunately the theater was so crowded we couldn't sit together. After the movie I emailed my parents to tell them to see the movie, and I told my father I wept. I felt very good after I told him that. There is something in this film that makes things different.
19 posted on 02/28/2004 5:32:50 AM PST by Tredge (Don't ask me, I don't know)
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To: NYer
But the one scene that grabbed me was Peter, after he realizes that he has just denied Christ 3 times. He slumps down against a pillar, eyes glazed over, mouth open, body trembling. He portrays the weaness in all of us, our commitment never to sin again, only to repeat the offenses over and over again.

_______________________________
NYer

You are very correct in that statement. I couldn't help but think over and over again, that Jesus did all this for me. In brief moments of reflection, while seeing the brutality put-forth to Jesus, if felt sickened knowing that I would continue to sin. <- If that makes sense. If not I am sorry, it is early

20 posted on 02/28/2004 5:36:47 AM PST by Rays_Dad
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To: Tredge
Thank you
21 posted on 02/28/2004 5:37:46 AM PST by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: Bazooka
According to the liberal elites in this country, today we should be able to look out our windows and see roving gangs of rabid right-wing anti-semites toting torches and pitchforks. Um, I'm waiting...

Also waiting for the rabid right-wing indiscriminate anit-Muslim violence to spring up after 9-11....and waiting...and waiting...

Maybe the liberal elites in this country are wrong, always were wrong, always will be wrong. GASP!!!
22 posted on 02/28/2004 5:39:14 AM PST by Tricorn
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To: miltonim
My sentiments are the same as this authors, I just could not say it so eloquently . I went to see the movie last night and it brought home what my Savior actually had to endure for me and you and how much He loved us, this movie is all about Love not hate!
23 posted on 02/28/2004 5:48:49 AM PST by garylmoore (Now I know: It is as it was)
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To: NYer
I saw the film last night. It was a 5:15 matinee and the theater was full. The 7:00 pm showing was already sold out. As a commercial venture, it’s a blockbuster.

The artistry was wonderful; great acting and outstanding cinematography. But this film’s value is on a much more personal level. This film will enhance whatever faith or belief you bring into the theater.

Christians – at least this Christian – tend to have a sanitized version of Jesus, his birth, ministry and death. Especially his death. We know that “scourging” and “crucifixion” are brutal, but I always intellectualized these events. OK, he was whipped, a crown of thorns was put on his head and he was put on a cross, dying after a few hours and in his dying atoned for my sins.

This film puts into context and forces you to face the fact that his torture and execution were so brutal that modern man would turn away. The Passion shows the physical agony and actual torture Jesus offered himself up to so that we may, if we believe in him, can be cleansed of our sin. It forces you to look, and see the evil that is in man, what we are truly capable of when we let go. It brought into sharp focus the actual sacrifice that Jesus made for me. And in that sacrifice, the love he has for those who follow him.

Peace.

24 posted on 02/28/2004 5:58:55 AM PST by moneyrunner (I have not flattered its rank breath, nor bowed to its idolatries a patient knee.)
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To: NYer
But the one scene that grabbed me was Peter, after he realizes that he has just denied Christ 3 times. He slumps down against a pillar, eyes glazed over, mouth open, body trembling.He portrays the weaness in all of us, our commitment never to sin again, only to repeat the offenses over and over again.

Some just know how to express reality perfectly.

25 posted on 02/28/2004 6:00:32 AM PST by sirchtruth
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To: NewHampshireDuo; FormerACLUmember; Rays_Dad; Dr. Scarpetta; ultima ratio; drstevej
All the scenes keep replaying in my head

Yes ... that has been my reaction as well. A question for you and anyone else in the forum who has seen The Passion of Christ movie.

My teen daughter accompanied me. On the drive home (my eyes still swollen from tears), I used the opportunity to sollicit her reactions, and understanding of what she had just seen. Certain scenes stood out more to me than to her but she picked up on one for which I had no response.

Recall the scene where the children drive Judas out of town. He slumps down next to a tree, grasping his head. We hear buzzing sounds and he turns his head to see the carcass of a dead donkey, infested with flies. In his flashback, he recalls Jesus riding into Jerusalem atop a donkey. She wanted to know how the donkey had died.

I don't think the "how" is as important as the "why". Why did Gibson place the rotting carcass of a dead donkey in this scene. What did you understand from the symbolism?

26 posted on 02/28/2004 6:27:06 AM PST by NYer (Ad Jesum per Mariam)
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To: NYer
The dead donkey is a graphic image of Satan, a vehicle to present Judas with a noose to hang himself. Recall how Satan had to poke a maggot back in "her" nose in the Garden?
27 posted on 02/28/2004 6:40:18 AM PST by FormerACLUmember (Man rises to greatness if greatness is expected of him)
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To: NYer
I'll be thinking of your question when I see the movie tomorrow.
28 posted on 02/28/2004 6:49:05 AM PST by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: FormerACLUmember
Recall how Satan had to poke a maggot back in "her" nose in the Garden?

Wow ... I must have missed that action.

On EWTN's program, Life On The Rock, Thursday night's guest was a film critic. He said it was a challenge to sit through the film the first time and not compare what he was seeing to what others were saying. He went back a 2nd time, to see the movie for himself. I'll have to do the same.

29 posted on 02/28/2004 6:55:07 AM PST by NYer (Ad Jesum per Mariam)
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To: NYer
Some say they grew numb to the violence. I for one did not. With every stroke of the whip, with every strike of the chains, with every nail pounded through the flesh of a man who professed that we should "love our enemies for if we do not what reward could we possibly receive," I felt the pain, the injustice, the scourge.

Mel Gibson is to be not only congratulated for producing probably one of the most brilliant and important films ever created but he is also to be thanked for having the courage to produce such an incredibly powerful medium for a message that is so in need of being heard today. Those who would attack him for his creation stand in false witness with those who stood in contrived judgment of a "man" who commanded us all to love our enemies, a "man" who accepted the brutality and injustice of those He chose to love rather than forsake.

Amen.

30 posted on 02/28/2004 2:07:34 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul (The "Passion" is the celebration of life over death, and it's no more anti-Semitic than is the Bible)
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To: miltonim
We are The Passion of the Christ
31 posted on 02/28/2004 2:09:52 PM PST by Rightly Biased (<><)
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To: NYer
Why did Gibson place the rotting carcass of a dead donkey in this scene.

That image of the donkey was both disgusting and frightening. It reminded me of my own mortality. Is that all we are at the end of our lives? Just a rotting, maggot infested piece of flesh? Do our lives end in nothing, our personal lives obliterated?

Humans certainly have an animal side to their existence. But if a person only lives as an animal, then one suffers the same fate as that dead donkey--you just rot away to nothing. I think at that moment Judas realized how superficial and meaningless his life had been. He lived only as an animal and not as a human being. So he ended his life.

32 posted on 02/28/2004 2:26:36 PM PST by stripes1776
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To: padfoot_lover; ultima ratio; american colleen; Victoria Delsoul
From earlier today ... Passion ping!

St. Francis of Assisi gave us the Nativity to contemplate the birth of Christ; (St.) Mel has given us The Passion of Christ, to contemplate as a living Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.

Thank you, Mel!

33 posted on 02/28/2004 3:50:41 PM PST by NYer (Ad Jesum per Mariam)
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To: USMARINE6
The Left Wingys are falling all over themselves to label the movie anti-semetic

"They" didn't get it 2,000 years ago. "They" still don't. Let it go!

34 posted on 02/28/2004 3:52:41 PM PST by NYer (Ad Jesum per Mariam)
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To: Victoria Delsoul; kstewskis; Dr. Scarpetta; GirlShortstop; lonevoice
I often wonder if Mel was put here in this time and place to galvanize people's faith once again.

In a time when we are under complete assault (Consider the John/Jay report from yesterday) along comes a film that has taken this Country by storm.

Did I hear right that it has been banned in France?

At one time one of the most Catholic countries on this earth, as turned her back on her history?!

35 posted on 02/28/2004 8:03:15 PM PST by Northern Yankee ( Freedom needs a soldier...)
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