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Church Digs Mel Gibson's $5 Million
Religion News ^ | Feb 13th, 2006

Posted on 02/13/2006 9:09:11 AM PST by laney

Mel Gibson made so much money from “The Passion of the Christ” that he’s now putting it where his mouth is, so to speak. He’s continuing to build a religious compound in Malibu for Catholics who reject Vatican II, and is implicitly endorsing his controversial father’s beliefs by helping him launch a similar church in Pennsylvania.

Last year, according to federal tax filings, Gibson parked $5 million of his "Passion" profits in his tax-free private foundation — the same vehicle he’s used to pour millions into a 17-acre religious compound he’s building in Agoura Hills, Calif., at a “secret” rural location.

The setup — first written about three years ago in The New York Times — now includes his very own 9,000-square-foot Holy Family Catholic Church. The church has about 70 members and a collection of buildings under construction.

In 2005, the AP Reilly Foundation — which Gibson named for his late mother and created for the sole purpose of funding the church — spent $115,000 on architect’s fees, $171,000 on landscaping, $121,000 for engineering consultant and $50,000 on legal fees.

The tax filing indicates that the Foundation now claims total net assets of $14 million. That includes a previous balance of $9 million and the $5 million Gibson moved there during the last year. All the money from the Foundation has gone toward building the church and maintaining it.

The Holy Family Catholic Church would not be of so much interest if its existence had not sparked a firestorm three years ago in the New York Times. Writer Christopher Noxon revealed that the church was for Gibson and fellow parishioners who subscribed to 16th century Catholic values, and did not agree with Vatican rulings of 1965 that, among other things, absolved Jews of Christ’s death.

The same article revealed that Gibson’s father, Hutton Gibson, denied the existence of the Holocaust. "It's all — maybe not all fiction — but most of it is," Hutton Gibson has said of the Holocaust on several occasions.

Mel Gibson had tried to distance himself from his father, but subsequent interviews proved to be a wash. After telling Diane Sawyer that the Holocaust “was an atrocity of monumental proportions," the Oscar-winning director of “Braveheart” got into more trouble with conservative speechwriter and pundit Peggy Noonan.

Asked by Noonan in Readers' Digest whether the Holocaust happened, Gibson answered: "Yes, of course," but elaborated ambiguously, "the Second World War killed tens of millions of people," he said. "Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives."

If Gibson was trying then to separate himself from his father’s incendiary comments, it hasn’t worked. A more recent article, in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, revealed that Gibson is planning to fund a church similar to Holy Family in Mt. Pleasant Township, Pa., called St. Michael the Archangel.

According to the article, Gibson was persuaded by his father to become involved and may have assisted in the purchase of an existing structure for a little over $315,000.

St. Michael’s and its clerical leader, like the Holy Family Church in Malibu, are not recognized by the archdiocese. The new church is officially supported by something called the World Faith Foundation, which in turn is named in papers filed by another charity, James Hirsen’s Foundation for Free Expression, as an affiliated group.

Hirsen is a close friend and vocal supporter of Gibson, and he frequently publishes editorials on conservative Web sites endorsing the movie star’s religious views.

Meanwhile, Holy Family’s religious leader is named on a Web site for independent Catholic churches in California as the Most Reverend Tourkom Saraydarian , who lists his own religious affiliation as the Aquarian Education Group. It’s not clear what if any association Saraydarian may have had with a religious philosopher of the same name who died in 1997. See Also The extreme religious sect which fuelled the passion of Mel Gibson

With the exception of Tom Cruise, no major box office star has devoted so much time to making his religious beliefs public than Gibson. Portrayed for years in the press as a “devout Catholic,” it turned out his brand of Catholicism had little to do with mainstream church.

You can’t find the Holy Family Catholic Church just by looking it up in the phone book. And unlike with most other religious institutions, you can’t just walk up and have a look around. That’s because the multimillion-dollar compound Gibson is still building for a relatively small and unsanctioned sect of retro-Catholics is kind of hidden in the open.

I visited the compound over the weekend, managing to find it high on a hill at 30188 W. Mulholland Highway, between Sierra Creek and Kanan roads in Agoura Hills, Calif., abutting Malibu. This is rural country, full of scrub brush, a good place to hide a project you don’t want the public to see.

One look at Holy Family's chapel confirms that the great joys of churchgoing are such that inclusion is not paramount in Gibson’s clubhouse. Parishioners, from what I could tell, are few. They sit on what looked like uncomfortable stiff chairs. The millions put out by Gibson were not for luxury, that’s for sure.

There were three pieces of paper taped to the windows of the main chapel doors, which were locked. One of the papers warned about using cameras; another described how one could get communion; and the third explained that women had to have their heads covered at all times when inside the chapel.

I wasn’t on the premises very long before a young man driving a new black Chrysler 300 sedan pulled up and told me I was on private property. The man, who introduced himself as "Will," looked like a younger version of Gibson and may have been the actor's 22-year-old son.

“This is a private chapel,” he said. Maybe, but Holy Family is also a beautiful Spanish-style structure situated on top of a hill with breathtaking views. What you can’t see from the church, though, is that Holy Family’s neighbors are two biker bars that each serve tasty, popular barbeque.

About a quarter mile up Mulholland is Ed and Vern’s Rock Store, a local hangout with an outdoor patio. Lined up along the road in front Ed and Vern’s, when I pulled up, were dozens of shiny silver motorcycles that belonged either to actual bikers or Prada-clad weekend Hell's Angels.

It wasn’t long before a familiar but unexpected face appeared on the patio -- former TV star Robert Blake, recently found not guilty of murdering his wife. He was dressed neatly in an oatmeal-colored sweater and khakis, and looked fit. Blake, who lives nearby, spoke to the owner of the bar for a few minutes before leaving.

Blake’s exit coincided with the arrival of former “Cheers” star Woody Harrelson, who sported a large straw hat and carried a mini Chihuahua. The dog was smart enough not to leave its chair while Woody got drinks out of the cooler. Eventually Woody was met by a comely young woman who scooped up the dog and Woody and they all left together.

Andy, the proprietor of Ed and Vern’s, told me that it wasn’t unusual for celebrities to come and go at what looks like a Hell’s Angels picnic idyll. He said Jay Leno is a regular customer, and Arnold Schwarzenegger stops in all the time. This corner of Agoura Hills is one busy place. And what of Gibson?

“He’s building a Taj Mahal up there,” Andy said of his neighbor. Alas, such a palace, according to the tax filing, generated only $21,000 in property taxes last year.

Gibson, meanwhile, who’s been photographed recently festooned in a long gray and white beard, is busy readying his new film, "Apocalypto," for release by Touchstone/Disney this spring. It was produced in Mexico, about ancient Mayan civilizations, and is apparently entirely acted in ancient Mayan. Gibson fully financed "Apocalypto," with its religious overtones, from the money he made from "The Passion of the Christ."


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: apocaloco; apocolypto; as; bloodmoney; catholic; churchbuilding; compound; denial; evil; gibson; malibu; melgibson; passion; satan; thepassion; vatcian2; vatican2; weasel

1 posted on 02/13/2006 9:09:12 AM PST by laney
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To: laney
"the Second World War killed tens of millions of people," he said. "Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives."

Only in the addled, diseased minds of anti-Catholic bigots is this a controversial statement.

2 posted on 02/13/2006 9:11:35 AM PST by Skooz (Chastity prays for me, piety sings............Modesty hides my thighs in her wings......)
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To: Skooz

Totally Agree with you!


3 posted on 02/13/2006 9:14:02 AM PST by laney (*never ride your horse faster than your guardian angel can fly*)
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To: laney
THE ROCK STORE IN TOPANGA CANYON OWNED BY VERN IS EVERY MOTORCYCLIST'S WEEKEND PIT STOP!
4 posted on 02/13/2006 9:18:31 AM PST by laney (*never ride your horse faster than your guardian angel can fly*)
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To: laney
St. Michael’s and its clerical leader, like the Holy Family Church in Malibu, are not recognized by the archdiocese

One of the papers warned about using cameras; another described how one could get communion; and the third explained that women had to have their heads covered at all times when inside the chapel.

wasn’t on the premises very long before a young man driving a new black Chrysler 300 sedan pulled up and told me I was on private property

Can sombody say "Branch Davidian"?
5 posted on 02/13/2006 9:21:25 AM PST by edgrimly78
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To: laney

Me too.


6 posted on 02/13/2006 9:22:00 AM PST by x5452
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To: x5452
This is the area where Mel is building img src=http://www.ridesaroundla.com/Rides/ANGELESC.gif>
7 posted on 02/13/2006 9:41:02 AM PST by laney (*never ride your horse faster than your guardian angel can fly*)
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
Catholic Ping - Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


9 posted on 02/13/2006 9:55:33 AM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: Rudi08

(I suspect rejecting any council would make one a heretic.)


10 posted on 02/13/2006 9:57:57 AM PST by x5452
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To: Rudi08
A question to my Catholic friends: What is Rome's position regarding those who reject Vatican II?

They are considered to be in schism.

11 posted on 02/13/2006 9:58:51 AM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: Rudi08

I can't speak for Rome -- but you might do some research on some schimatic groups and see where Rome puts them.


12 posted on 02/13/2006 10:00:47 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Rudi08

This church is not recognized by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Does that anwer your question?


13 posted on 02/13/2006 10:01:25 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: laney
and did not agree with Vatican rulings of 1965 that, among other things, absolved Jews of Christ’s death.

Ugh. The Church has never taught that the Jews were collectively responsible for Christ's death.

14 posted on 02/13/2006 10:11:30 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Rudi08
A question to my Catholic friends: What is Rome's position regarding those who reject Vatican II?

They would no longer be Catholic, and would be outside the Church's jurisdiction. If they claimed to be Catholic, they would fall under the Church's disciplinary jurisdiction. That is, they would be in a state of mortal sin, but with repentance and the reception of the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), they would return to full communion.

15 posted on 02/13/2006 10:15:45 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Rudi08

I'm not Catholic, so I don't have a clue.


16 posted on 02/13/2006 10:20:21 AM PST by Skooz (Chastity prays for me, piety sings............Modesty hides my thighs in her wings......)
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To: laney
A guy is donating money to build a chapel for a private community...so what.

This story is written by Roger Friedman, FoxNews. I don't understand what the bid deal is though. Why the bias from Friedman, right down to griping about how little tax revenue it would generate? It's a church, should it be paying more than other churches do in taxes?? Sure, it's newsworthy that Mel is building it, but why wouldn't a chapel being built for a private community, be PRIVATE?!

17 posted on 02/13/2006 10:22:52 AM PST by right-wingin_It
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To: laney
Wow. This author is trying soooooooooooooo hard to take Mel down with every little insignificant tidbit he thinks he can find.

Who cares if he's built his own private Catholic-Vatican I style church!!!!! The author makes it sound like they're doing human sacrifices in there. Sheeeeesssh!!!! Leave the poor guy alone. And to the author, stop making Mel responsible for his dad’s denials about the holocaust.

18 posted on 02/13/2006 10:36:51 AM PST by Maximus_Ridiculousness (patriotdreams.net)
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To: Salvation

Anybody who is remotely orthodox is different from Mahoney.


19 posted on 02/13/2006 10:49:10 AM PST by Jaded (The truth shall set you free, but lying to yourself turns you French.)
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To: Maximus_Ridiculousness

And Protestants do this all the time. Just last week there was an associate pastor from a remarkably large Southern Baptist church in Houston who is not starting his own church.


20 posted on 02/13/2006 10:50:45 AM PST by Jaded (The truth shall set you free, but lying to yourself turns you French.)
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To: laney

Plainly put, if the chair of Peter is vacant, then Jesus is a liar and the Church has indeed fallen before the gates of hell.

The problem is, Mel doesn't have the guts to call himself the Protestant that he is. I hope he comes to his senses, but history is littered with heretics; this one just gets good box office compared to the gnostics.


21 posted on 02/13/2006 10:56:13 AM PST by Rutles4Ever
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To: Salvation

"This church is not recognized by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Does that anwer your question?"

Considering the beliefs and liturgy which the Archdiocese of Los Angeles does recognize and practice, not to be recognized by this wacko Archdiocese might be a good thing.


22 posted on 02/13/2006 11:02:57 AM PST by rogator
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To: rogator

I agree fully with you!!!!!

I would be running to Mel's church if I lived in the LA area.

Also, I had heard that during the filming of The Passion, Mel had an FSSP Priest saying Mass every morning. If he asked the Archdiocese to give an FSSP Priest for this chapel, can anyone imagine WHAT they would say? Um, I don't think it would be yes.

Anyone remember what Mother Angelica had to say about the good Cardinal out there?

I think that before we just generally slam Mel, we need to do some research and wait to see what this compound becomes.

Hey, if Tom Monaghan can try for the Ave Maria Community, why not Mel?


23 posted on 02/13/2006 11:17:20 AM PST by netmilsmom (To attack one section of Christianity in this day and age, is to waste time.)
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To: laney
Holy Family’s religious leader is named on a Web site for independent Catholic churches in California as the Most Reverend Tourkom Saraydarian , who lists his own religious affiliation as the Aquarian Education Group

Huh? That doesn't sound like a Catholic affiliation to me, not even a schismatic SSPX kind of group. Sounds more new age.

24 posted on 02/13/2006 11:44:31 AM PST by sassbox
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To: sassbox
Here it also says he is affiliated with the Mexican National Catholic Church. Elsewhere it says the MNCC is in communion with Rome. Who knows.
25 posted on 02/13/2006 12:17:11 PM PST by Jaded (The truth shall set you free, but lying to yourself turns you French.)
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To: Salvation
This church is not recognized by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Does that anwer your question?

Yes, but they may at least pray for Cardinal Mahoney's conversion to Catholicism.

26 posted on 02/13/2006 12:19:52 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: right-wingin_It
This story is written by Roger Friedman, FoxNews. I don't understand what the bid deal is though. Why the bias from Friedman, right down to griping about how little tax revenue it would generate? It's a church, should it be paying more than other churches do in taxes?? Sure, it's newsworthy that Mel is building it, but why wouldn't a chapel being built for a private community, be PRIVATE?!

Duh! Read the story. Its all about the Jews and the Holocaust. You know, such central components of the Catholic Faith, right?

27 posted on 02/13/2006 12:21:30 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: laney
Writer Christopher Noxon revealed that the church was for Gibson and fellow parishioners who subscribed to 16th century Catholic values, and did not agree with Vatican rulings of 1965 that, among other things, absolved Jews of Christ’s death.

I don't think so.

For you, brethren, are become followers of the churches of God which are in Judea, in Christ Jesus: for you also have suffered the same things from your own coutrymen, even as they have from the Jews, Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us, and please not God, and are adversaries to all men; Prohibiting us to speak to the Gentiles, that they may be saved, to fill up their sins always: for the wrath of God is come upon them to the end. (1 Thessalonians 2.14-16)

How could Vatican II possibly deny that? And it doesn't.

... the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ ... (Nostra Aetate, 4)

But there are plenty of so-called Catholics who do, including leading heirarchs who acted much more like heresiarchs, such as Cardinal Bernardin, who advocated expurgating the New Testament of anti-Jewish references.

28 posted on 02/13/2006 12:30:17 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: laney
There aren't any lakes like that in the Malibu hills. There are a few smaller lakes (Malibou, Sherwood, Century) along Malibu creek but nothing like that photo.

Besides, the link says "Castaic" which is an hour's drive north.

29 posted on 02/13/2006 12:53:11 PM PST by Rytwyng ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche......"Oh, yeah? Wait 3 days!!!" -- God)
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To: laney
A more recent article, in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, revealed that Gibson is planning to fund a church similar to Holy Family in Mt. Pleasant Township, Pa., called St. Michael the Archangel.

For those of you unwilling to trust the judgment of LA's bishop, the group Gibson is planning to build a church for here in PA is considered illicit by the Diocese of Greensburg, where it resides.

Greensburg is far from LA. We kneel for the Consecration and after Communion and generally follow the rubrics, apart from the armies of Extraordinary Ministers of Communion.

SD

30 posted on 02/13/2006 12:55:58 PM PST by SoothingDave
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To: Hermann the Cherusker

So much for "fair and balanced"


31 posted on 02/13/2006 12:57:02 PM PST by right-wingin_It
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To: Rudi08
What is Rome's position regarding those who reject Vatican II? >>

they are not part of the universal catholic church and can be excommunicated. There are some bishop-approved Tridentine (Latin pre vatican II) rite parishes around, Gibson's are not one of them since he is building churches and hiring his own priests w/o the approval of the local bishop who represents the pope. One of the 3 reasons why i never saw the passion of Christ movie.
32 posted on 02/13/2006 1:25:49 PM PST by Coleus (IMHO, The IVF procedure is immoral & kills many embryos/children and should be outlawed)
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To: laney

This article wanders all over the place, such that I'm not really sure what the point is/was...

About APOCALYPTO, Gibson's film approaching release, he's said that the film isn't religious in nature but is "a love story" set amidst an ancient time past.

Yet this article suggests otherwise.

And, the mention of taxes and investments and such...this article seems not so much religious as it is petty.


33 posted on 02/13/2006 6:18:08 PM PST by MillerCreek
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To: laney

Ah, now that I see that the article is written by Roger Friedman, I understand it's pettiness. Friedman is a sad person and I'll never understand why FOX has sold itself and readers so far short by continuing to print Friedman's malintended pieces. Unfortunately, Friedman's animosity for Gibson (and Gibson's dad) is the only characteristic that's making any point here.

I think that comment by Gibson to Noonan is understandable, certainly accurate...and that you have to be really, really wanting to find something boogery about Gibson to force a misunderstanding about that comment. Friedman might just as well have titled this piece, "Jew hater." Friedman's not Orthodox so perhaps that includes Friedman, too.


34 posted on 02/13/2006 6:25:12 PM PST by MillerCreek
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To: SoothingDave

Greensburg and Altoona are just as unorthodox as Los Angeles.

You should read the criticisms made by your local Byzantine and Ukranian priests about their Latin brothers in those dioceses.

The armies of EM's are one of the biggest abuses out there.


35 posted on 02/13/2006 7:12:30 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Hermann the Cherusker

That would be good.


36 posted on 02/13/2006 7:37:19 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Jaded

Interesting connections there.

Reminds me of a saying in the Bible"

"Beware of false>......................."


37 posted on 02/13/2006 7:39:38 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: laney
the rock store in on mulholland, right after the turnoff to troutdale. Going northwest, it is just around the bend from the old aquarian educational group building, that is at the end of the winding driveway.

Been there, done that.

38 posted on 02/13/2006 7:41:14 PM PST by going hot (Happiness is a momma deuce)
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To: rogator

Regardless of Mahoney, this church is not aligned with Rome.


39 posted on 02/13/2006 7:42:15 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Jaded; Maximus_Ridiculousness

ooops. delete the word 'not' in the last sentence


40 posted on 02/13/2006 8:10:23 PM PST by Jaded (The truth shall set you free, but lying to yourself turns you French.)
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To: laney

I do like Mel Gibson but dangit why does he have to be typical Hollywood and support a wacky religious sect? Does nutty schismatic Catholicism play better in L.A. than regular Catholicism?


41 posted on 02/13/2006 9:00:20 PM PST by Dumb_Ox (http://kevinjjones.blogspot.com)
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To: Coleus

**One of the 3 reasons why i never saw the passion of Christ movie.**

Any chance you'd share the other 2 reasons?


42 posted on 02/14/2006 5:23:57 AM PST by Pepper777
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To: Salvation
Regardless of Mahoney, this church is not aligned with Rome.

*************

Quite right. It's very unfortunate that Gibson has chosen to go in this direction.

43 posted on 02/14/2006 5:49:32 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Dumb_Ox

" Does nutty schismatic Catholicism play better in L.A. than regular Catholicism?"

Hard to say.
There is very little evidence of regular Catholicism being present in L.A.


44 posted on 02/14/2006 6:11:17 AM PST by rogator
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To: laney

I knew he was a tradiditionalist, I never read anything that said he rejected Vatican II. Is there a source for that?


45 posted on 02/14/2006 6:13:46 AM PST by TradicalRC (No longer to the right of the Pope...)
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To: Salvation

"Regardless of Mahoney, this church is not aligned with Rome."

In L.A., as in many other places, it is very difficult to find any church truly aligned with Rome.
You have a choice of many varieties of illicit Masses, some of them diocesan recognized, some not.


46 posted on 02/14/2006 6:16:12 AM PST by rogator
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To: Hermann the Cherusker
Greensburg and Altoona are just as unorthodox as Los Angeles.

I've seen what goes in in Los Angeles. I've seen what goes on in Greensburg. I've read material from Mahony. I've read material from Bosco and Brandt. This comment of yours seems hyperbolic.

SD

47 posted on 02/14/2006 6:21:03 AM PST by SoothingDave
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To: Pepper777

oh, someone did ask, I must have missed your post.


I don't watch movies that are not in the English language

and

I don't need to see a movie to realize how much Jesus suffered. The bible goes into enough detail for me to know what He did and why He did it and how He suffered tremendously for us.


48 posted on 02/21/2006 7:54:58 PM PST by Coleus (What were Ted Kennedy & his nephew doing on Good Friday, 1991? Getting drunk and raping women)
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