Skip to comments.Mel Gibson Attacks Vatican
Posted on 09/13/2002 5:08:13 AM PDT by kattracks
Actor Mel Gibson, a staunchly orthodox Roman Catholic who will play Christ in an upcoming movie, says the Vatican is a "wolf in sheep's clothing" and that he doesn't believe in the present-day Church as an institution.
Gibson, who calls himself an "old-fashioned Catholic" devoted to the Latin mass and pre-Vatican II Catholicism told the Italian newspaper Il Giornale that he believes in God and is happy that his only daughter has decided to become a nun.
In Rome to film "Passion," a new film about the final hours of Christ's life, Gibson, 46 recalled that he had a stern Catholic upbringing as a youngster in Australia, where he attended Catholic school.
"My love for religion was transmitted to me by my father," he told the newspaper. "But I do not believe in the Church as an institution." Gibson said he has a private chapel at his home in Malibu, Calif., at which mass is celebrated every Sunday in Latin.
The replacement of the Latin liturgy by vernacular languages has caused many Catholics such as Gibson to seek out parishes where the Latin mass is celebrated on Sundays. The Vatican allows Latin masses but requires permission to be granted by local bishops.
Vatican II rules permit local bishops to apply for so-called "indults" - exceptions that allow mass to be celebrated in Latin. In recent years there has been a growing movement to restore Latin as the language of the mass. Adherents point to the fact that the pope continues to say his private daily mass in Latin
Gibson's objections to the post-Vatican II Church echo those of the members of the Society of St. Pius X, which broke away from Rome partially because of the abandonment of the Latin or Tridentine liturgy. It has chapels scattered around the U.S., where the liturgy is the pre-Vatican II Tridentine mass celebrated in Latin.
In the U.S. the Society claims it has 43 priests, 60 seminarians, 15 priories, 98 chapels and 26 schools.
According to Britain's Times. Gibson and his wife, Robyn, have been married for more than 20 years. He is fiercely protective of his seven children (six sons and one daughter, who he says wants to be a nun, which he is very happy about). He says he was attracted to the story of Christ's last hours before the crucifixion because it is "the drama of a man torn between his divine spirit and his earthly weakness."
In the Garden of Gethsemane, on the road to Calvary and at Golgotha, Gibson said, Jesus is often described as being calmly resigned to his suffering and death despite St. Luke's account of Christ's agony in the Garden of Olives, where he underwent an attack of hematidrosa - where victims sweat blood as a result of profound emotion or great fear.
Gibson says, "my Jesus will be shaken by his human suffering. Real blood will flow from the wound in his side, and the screams of his crucifixion will be real as well."
Catholic sources told the Times that Gibson sought the advice of theologians and prelates in Rome for his film and that the actor has strong views on divorce, abortion and contraception.
To some Catholics on the site more devout and informed than I: does this mean Gibson is involved with a breakaway sect that is no longer in communion with Rome?
I hope not. There is no other man in Hollywood for whom I have greater respect and it would be heartbreaking to know he has formally abandoned Christ's true church.
I agree w/ you, I have a hard time believing any actor could do justice to the drama and the passion of our Lord's agony and sacrifice.
But who knows? After the many attempts to trivialize Christ in the recent past He remains unassailable. At worst this will be just another ham handed attempt at profundity, OTOH it could be moving.
He may have taken the Vatican ruling to heart that if there is no Mass in your diocese celebrated according to the GIRM, then you are permitted to attend a Mass celebrated according to the rubrics of the 1962 Missal.
He may be expressing a frustration with our poorly-administered Church and the lack of disciplinary mettle of the Vatican. It does not necessarily mean he has separated himself from allegiance to the Holy See.
If Mel Gibson is not SSPX, I know for a fact that he has very close relatives who are in the SSPX.
In one recent movie "Conspiracy Theory", his cabdriver character is even shown scolding two nuns for being allied with the Vatican, described by the character as "corrupt".
Christ's true church consists of every believer in Jesus Christ and in His Resurrection. Not every Catholic is a Christian, just as every denomination has people within their doors who are not believers.
It's not unusual for conversions to start with an entertainment that provokes curiosity. I'm old enough to remember "Jesus Christ, Superstar" doing just that.
Seeing that Mel is going out of the way to present an accurate picture (consulting theologians, priests, etc.), I don't think that his motive is pure entertainment. Spreading the Gospel is more likely. Also, don't forget, for over a thousand years, people have been reenacting the Passion in the form of Passion Plays, etc., as a means of celebrating the Easter story and educating the masses. Our modern movie industry can trace its roots to theatre, which had its beginning in some of the earliest forms of drama in Europe in the Middle Ages. The subject of these earliest plays? Stories from the Bible, of course, to help teach the illiterate peasants Christianity. So what Mel is doing is nothing new.
Yeah, I understand what you're saying. But for those young men and women who see the movie, and are attuned to God's grace, they may be moved and deepened in their faith. In short, those who don't understand what they're seeing won't benefit. Others may come closer to God as a result.
I am no longer Catholic, but there is a chapel near our house where only Latin masses are given. People travel from many miles away every Sunday to attend mass there. These people remember (as many Catholics age 50+ remember) that masses were given in Latin when they were children, and they think the Church has abandoned many of the old rites and traditions. (And they're correct). But, the priests who run the place are considered "renegades" today. I had an article about it, but I recently trashed it, so I don't remember all the details. But, I don't think they're officially recognized by the Catholic Church anymore. How ironic, when it was the Catholic Church that changed, not these traditionalists.