Comments On The Movie, "The Passion of the Christ"

 

Email and Press Comments after seeing the Movie.


Rick,

What I would really, really LOVE is for you to make me an honest $1000.00 bet - that you can watch this movie - without tears streaming down your face at various parts. -- It's a quick and easy THOUSAND DOLLARS - for you. All you have to do is watch it without tears streaming down your face.

Catholic guys like us are not shocked by extreme violence. Gibson does a great job portraying much of it "as it was". Caviezel is almost the spitting image of the Agamian Christ -- the picture by Ariel Agamian - which is often depicted in 2-D - flipping back and forth between the shroud - and the human face.

Also, Caveziel - in real life - has deep blue eyes. Like MY Jesus - he has green eyes in this movie. Man - when he dies - and those eyes are dead-open - before his head falls - it is captivating. Time stops - even though it's only a second or two.

If you can NOT WEEP during the scene of "Jesus meets his mother" - I will give you a thousand dollars. He is beat and exhausted. He is at the point where he can not go on, before they find Simon -- and when Jesus falls - for the 6th time -- I don't know - it sure is not three falls --- they do a "flash back" -- when Jesus was a little boy -- who falls and hurts his knee. They do sort of a "double scene" - enacting Mary running to her little boy - saying: "I am here". And they cross cut it with an identical run - where she does something very similar -- but this time he is flayed open - almost dead. The "running scenes" and the "I am here" - is a tear jerker. She is taking care of her baby -- even when he is being crucified - or so she still loves him, as portrayed by Gibson.

Truthfully, I think this movie needs to be TEN HOURS long - not 2 hours. It is so good - that it just wastes the rest of the scripture.

The scenes with Pontius Pilate are by no means easy. Pilate is very conflicted,  and troubled - and he is not happy -- and he is not happy about Jesus' answers to him either -- because it seems so absolutely realistic. How can you kill a man who says: "My kingdom is not of this world" ??

Caviezel LETS IT RIP - when Caiphas, as High Priest of Israel, says: I ADJURE YOU IN THE NAME OF THE LIVING GOD - TO TELL US IF YOU ARE THE CHRIST, THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.

Even though Caviezel is torn up - even at that time - he insures his own death. He replies LOUDLY - "I AM! AND WHAT IS MORE YOU SHALL SEE THE SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN IN GLORY".

The movie is just too accurate to comment much about.

First of all, it is TOTAL WRONG TO SAY - that this movie will not convert the Jews. That is HOGWASH. Any Jew with an open mind would be converted -- and I have read commentaries by Jews who have seen this movie. They are threatened by this movie - just as Caiphas was of Jesus -- and THAT IS THAT. No questions, no arguments -- this movie will convert Jews.

What is more - the poor protestants are STUCK. Sure - in the agony of the garden - the devil is whispering to Jesus -- but Jesus simply does not even listen to him at all. So - the devil sends a serpent -- right before Christ is arrested - as if to molest Christ. Jesus gets up from his agony, ignoring the serpent which should be scaring Him - and simply STOMPS ON ITS HEAD - - and moves on. Jesus never EVER listens to the devil - in this movie. He completely ignores him.

Two other points: the enmity between Satan and Mary as clear as the nose on your face. Only a complete fool would miss this. She is squaring off with the devil - across the street - as the crucifixion proceeds. She also, completely ignores the devil. But - the CONTRAST is too obvious. Any protestant could see what Gibson is establishing.

I would say that the most INTENSE PART of the whole movie - is after they dislocate Christ's arms to nail him to the cross -- flip him over on his face - to bend in the nails - and then turn him back over - THE SCENE FLASHES BACK TO THE LAST SUPPER - WHERE CHRIST SAYS: "This is my body - which will be given up for you" -- At the instant that Christ elevates the bread above his head -- THE SCENE FLASHES BACK - to the cross dropping into the hole - and Jesus ELEVATED-  ERECTED ON THE CROSS - FOR THE FIRST TIME.

If you can't see the symbolism there - you are an idiot. In the very same way - when he takes the cup - and elevates it -- it flashes back to the blood dripping freely from several parts of Jesus hand, arm, and body - in streams of blood - obviously being shed.

Frankly, I believe that this movie will at the VERY LEAST explain to Protestants what we believe -- if not convert them completely.

The problem for critics - is that the movie is so graphic, so realistic, that there is simply no arguing with it. I think I caught Gibson pulling a "Gibson" -- because I do not think that they brought the charge against him, saying: "This man said he would give us his flesh to eat, and his blood to drink -- and that if we did not eat his flesh or drink his blood - we could not inherit eternal life.

Jesus' "nobility" in this movie is consummate. He groans in pain - but he never weeps like a little girl. He even stands up - and says give me some more - if you can. Then - they tear his flesh to smithereens -- with a whip that tears chunks out of wooden table. They beat him back - and front. They let one arm loose - and then tear his chest stomach and legs to bits.

Interesting, that when Jesus is dropped into the ground - on the Cross - Mary falls to her knees as if in sacrifice -- and Mary Magdalene - and John follow her in this action.

So - the movie is straight Catholic Theology. Very effective too. The spilling of the blood and water - is extremely powerful -- and I believe that it happened in just that way. I could see why it would do what it does -- from the position Jesus is in.

Funny that Mary should be first to be sanctified by the Blood and Water  - and then John - and then - actually the guy who pierced him.

You have got to remember that the earth is shaking, the sun is eclipsing -- the Romans are not happy - and they scarred to death. They all run away - that is why they are so quick to break the thieves legs with sledge hammers -- and tell the one guy just to pierce his heart - because he is already dead. They are trying to get OUT of there and fast -- at that moment, but, not Mary, or John.

Gibson also throws in a line NOT FROM scripture - when Mary says to Jesus on the Cross - "Flesh of my Flesh - Heart of my Heart" -- and then Jesus pronounces the words: "Woman - behold thy son" -- and to John - "Son behold thy mother".

The only reason the Protestants SUPPORTED THIS MOVIE is because apparently they are too dense to see it's profound Catholic theology. It's obvious to any Catholic.

Where does Jesus express his love - on the cross?? He prays for the Jews Crucifying him - (and I am quite certain that Caiphas is in HELL - for sure) -- and the good thief yells to him -- "HE IS PRAYING FOR YOU EVEN NOW!"

Caiphas is essentially running away during the earthquake and then not only does the VEIL OF THE TEMPLE tear from Top to Bottom but the stairs leading up to the Holy of Holies are SPLIT IN HALF - by the earthquake as I believe the whole Holy Place is. Gibson rips more than the veil, he breaks the stone edifice of the structure in half in a violent show of force.

Lastly, Peter, and John both call Mary "Mother" when ever they address her even before the crucifixion.

Peter is sobbing - as he runs away after denying Christ three times -- and he does say: DAMN YOU! I DO NOT KNOW WHO HE IS! -- but Christ looks at him - and they do another "flash back" - and Peter remembers -- and he runs away -- and bumps into Mary - beside himself almost falling to his knees into her arms - saying: "Mother - I have denied him. I have denied him three times". He is already sobbing - and then Peter is out of the movie for good.

Regarding the movie being too violent?? Hogwash! Only for little children - under 8 years old. This movie is violent - but no worse than any other modern day movie.

I was wrong when I said that there was MUD on Mary's face -- it's not mud -- it's BLOOD. Christ's blood. -- She was a little too close to the dying Jesus - and she gets blood on her face kissing his feet.

If you do not weep for Mary when you see this movie - you are going to hell - period. And many will not care about her sorrow.

This is the most powerful tool of conversion for both Protestants and Jews that I have ever seen. The Jews who do not like this movie - do not like it for the VERY SAME REASON that Caiphas crucified Christ in the first place - and for no other reason.

It's not "anti-semitic" -- it is a powerful tool to convert the Jews -- and nothing less.

 

David Hughes www.newjerusalem.com

 

Evangelist Billy Graham Reviews Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ'

 

"A Lifetime of Sermons in One Movie" says Preacher. "I have often wondered what it must have been like to be a bystander during those last hours before Jesus' death," Mr. Graham said. "After watching 'The Passion of the Christ,' I feel as if I have actually been there. I was moved to tears. I doubt if there has ever been a more graphic and moving presentation of Jesus' death and resurrection - which Christians believe are the most important events in human history. The film is faithful to the Bible's teaching that we are all responsible for Jesus' death, because we have all sinned," Mr. Graham continued. "It is our sins that caused His death, not any particular group. No one who views this film's compelling imagery will ever be the same."

Dr. James Dobson
I had the privilege of viewing a "rough cut" of the movie last summer during a writing trip to California, and again in September. I can say that, in addition to being faithful to the essentials of the biblical account, it is easily the most heart-wrenching, powerful portrayal of Christ's suffering that I have ever seen. Shirley and I were deeply moved by the stark depiction of the brutality and humiliation that Jesus endured on our behalf. Other preview screenings have had a similar effect, leaving audience members either weeping openly or hushed in reverent silence.

Mel Gibson also traveled to Focus on the Family headquarters last year to show an early version of "The Passion of the

A devout Catholic, Mel Gibson has repeatedly emphasized the fact that he felt called by God to bring "The Passion of the Christ" to the big screen. During one interview, he said,

"I'm not a preacher, and I'm not a pastor. But I really feel my career was leading me to make this [movie]. The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize ... Everyone who worked on this movie was changed. There were agnostics and Muslims on set converting to Christianity."

When was the last time you heard a major Hollywood star make a statement of such magnitude?

In my estimation, the liberal backlash against "The Passion of the Christ" is incredibly significant. Shaky charges of "anti-Semitism" are really just a smokescreen. I believe the real problem the liberal establishment has with this movie is that it has the audacity to portray Christ as He really was not only as a historical figure, but as the Savior of mankind. That is an offense to the postmodern sensibilities of our morally relativistic culture. The fact that Mel Gibson actually hopes to use his movie as a vehicle for evangelism only adds fuel to the fire.

Columnist David Limbaugh put it best when he said:

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 ... 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 with no particular redeeming value (literally). In our post-Christian culture, criticism of the blasphemous "The Last Temptation of Christ" is celebrated, and "The Passion [of the Christ]" is condemned.

Mel Gibson seemed to recognize this himself when, in a recent interview, he described the controversy over his movie as evidence of "big realms that are warring and battling."

In another interview, he noted that one of his primary motivations in making the movie was precisely "to show that turmoil around [Jesus] politically and with religious leaders and the people, all because He is Who He is ... This is not a Christian vs. Jewish thing. '[Jesus] came into the world, and it knew him not.' Looking at Christ's crucifixion, I look first at my own culpability in that."

Alan Sereboff, a Jewish screenwriter who has previously worked with Gibson's company, said, "As a Jew I left the movie feeling a greater sense of friendship and closeness to my Christian brothers and sisters than I ever thought imaginable."

Noted movie critic and radio host Michael Medved has called "The Passion of the Christ" "by far the most moving, substantive, and artistically successful adaptation of biblical material ever attempted by Hollywood."

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan said of the movie: "I came away reassured. It is a moving film, and what it moves you to is tears, and thought ... It leaves you indicting yourself: It leaves you wondering about what your part in that agonizing drama would have been back then, and what your part is today."

Columnist Joseph Farah of World Net Daily: "Followers of Jesus believe we are all responsible all human beings, alive, dead or yet to be born for crucifying Jesus ... He bore our sins and they were nailed to that tree the day He died. We don't blame anyone but ourselves. To do so would miss out on the grace He offered with His shed blood."

Having shared a few of the details concerning "The Passion of the Christ," may I now encourage you to take the time to go see the movie when it is released on the 25th of this month? As Christians, we often decry the immoral films that Hollywood routinely releases, and rightly so. However, in addition to avoiding movies that are immoral or otherwise disparaging of Christianity, we must do everything we can to support those rare films that, like "The Passion of the Christ," are both edifying and uplifting.

For years, Hollywood executives have justified their constant barrage of sex-and-debauchery-soaked movies by saying, "We're only releasing what the public wants to see!" Many movie industry executives refuse to admit that there is a viable audience for stories and characters that extol biblical virtues. "The Passion of the Christ" presents us with a powerful opportunity to prove them wrong.

In any other context, I could not in good conscience recommend a movie containing this degree of violent content. However, in this case, the violence is intended not to titillate or entertain, but to emphasize the reality of the unspeakable suffering that our Savior endured on our behalf. Christian recording artist Christy Nockels of Watermark, put the violent nature of the film in perspective by saying, "It is extremely graphic, but through each scene my heart kept taking me back to Isaiah 53:5: 'By His stripes we are healed.'" Speaking personally, I was deeply affected by a single thought while watching the movie: I did this to Jesus.

Whether you decide to see "The Passion of the Christ" or not, with Easter on the horizon, I hope that you will take some time in the coming weeks to reflect on Christ's death and resurrection and to consider the inestimable significance that those events hold in the lives of those of us who claim Him as King. He paid the penalty for our sins so that we might be reconciled with our Father in Heaven. The prophet Isaiah captured the magnitude of that moment most eloquently:

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:3-5

And now, 2,000 years after His earthly life in the age of movies and satellites and the Internet the Suffering Servant beckons to us still. To those who hear and respond to His call, He offers the promise of grace, forgiveness, restoration and a glorious eternity. That is Good News, indeed!

Sincerely,

James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
Founder and Chairman
Focus On The Family

Vatican Official Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy, "I would like all our Catholic priests throughout the world to see this film. I hope all Christians will be able to see it, and all people everywhere." He said the film is "...a triumph of art and faith. It will be a tool for explaining the person and message of Christ. I am confident that it will change for the better everyone who sees it, both Christians and non-Christians alike."

U.S. Archbishop John P. Foley of the Vatican's social-communications office, said that he doubts that any of the criticisms of the movie are well-founded because all the material in the film comes directly from the Gospel accounts. There's nothing in the film that doesn't come from the Gospel accounts. So, if they're critical of the film, they would be critical of the Gospel."

Child of Holocaust Survivors, Maia Morgenstern, who plays the role of Mary, the Mother of Christ, rejects allegations that Gibson's film is anti-Semitic. She says that "Gibson is an artist, a director. He never imposed his religious convictions on anyone. If there is a message, it's more about how people can be manipulated by their leaders," she said. "When people go and see the film, they will (primarily) see a work of art," Morgenstern said.

Aloha Rick:

 

As usual every Mass that we celebrate we continue to lift you up in prayer as our parishioners agree with me. You should know that. The small parish of St. Michael are true prayer warriors, interceder's for Mr. Rick Salbato. 

 

Please remember us in your prayers.

 

Rick, Have you seen the movie Passion of Christ? I bought tickets for our whole parish and we all went to the first showing this past Wednesday. All of our children, grandchildren and parishioners went. We all wore a red shirt or blouse. (Symbolic of Holy Spirit)

 

We all cried, during the movie but all of our faces were like light after the movie was over. We loved the movie. I believe for me it was the best investment that I have ever made. I would be very interested to hear of your comments about the movie. There are a few scenes that are not scriptural but, like Jesus said not all the things that he did while on earth was recorded. 

 

Did you know that Mel is the same kind of Roman Catholic that you are? He loves, goes to the Tridentine Mass every morning. He has a struggle with the Vatican II changes.

 

Does he know of you? If not you should see the movie and then write to him. You two would get along great.

 

I realize that what I am sharing may dent our relationship, but too be very honest with you, Rick, I really loved the movie, and what I read about Mel Gibson. I really love the guy. He has guts, will call a spade a spade, a true defender of the Traditional Mass and Catholicism,  and is a real orthodox Catholic. He reminds me so much of you!

 

God bless

Fr. John, most unworthy priest

 

Rick

Late this afternoon, as I drove through the CENTER of the two main streets in downtown Santa Rosa, there were at least 200 people - maybe more -- because they were on all four sides of the crossing - about a 70 foot line of people - on all four sides - and the crowd on each side was at least three people thick. They were all waving very will made home made signs which proclaimed: GOD LOVES YOU!, and JESUS SAVES! and 'BY HIS WOUNDS WE ARE SAVED!" -- etc. etc. - there must have been at 100 signs - and I don't know how many people. I have no doubt that this was entirely the result of this movie.

I have gone three times now - and each time every showing has been FRONT ONLY - or SOLD OUT. This is not a particularly "Christian Area" -- at least no more so than San Jose or San Diego -- so, I take this as a measure that a pretty degenerate society as a whole does still have some good souls left.

When you finally see the movie - you will understand the controversy. I deny and defy every single charge made against this movie as a complete and TOTAL LIE. These people KNOW that this movie is nothing but a very powerful tool for conversion - and NOTHING MORE. It is not too violent. It is not anti-semantic. And NO MOVIE PRODUCER IN THE WORLD - could actually a do good job depicting the Passion of Christ - without spending at least this much time. As far as I am concerned - the movie should be an hour longer. It is just too short as far as I'm concerned.

The third time I saw it - the people on either side of me were weeping. I could not help but notice this - even though I
was not looking at them.

I think I have decided what my favorite scene in the whole movie is. My favorite scene is the beautiful, powerful, look of Jesus - as the glimpse of his resurrection is shown. He takes one step forward - and the absolute determination in his gentle eyes to get out fight for souls - is simply profound. This gentle man - now clearly means business. His crucifixion is over - but that look in his eyes of absolute determination to go forward - fills me zeal. The movie closes as he walks by the camera showing nothing but the hole in his hand. He is all cleaned up and beautiful again.

I finally figured out what the symbolism of Mary picking up the earth - when she falls kneeling - and then stands up and lets it fall from her hands. You could not tell - since you do not know what she is praying, but I know that she is offering up her son to God - in that scene - and that after she does so - she picks up the "cursed earth" - and than consecrates the "new earth" through her son - as he is crucified - as she prayerfully lets if fall back to earth - as her hands slowly open and spill it back to the ground - as a symbol of consecrating, cleansing, and purifying the whole earth through Christ Crucified. This occurs in a unison with Jesus being flipped over - nailed the cross face down, and then he is turned back over - and raised up.

I also understand why the Roman Soldier who pierced his side - falls to the ground - as the water spills over him. In this scene the power of the Holy Spirit simply overwhelms him - and he unexpectedly, but willing - is overpowered by the purification of the cleansing that is being afforded him by the power of salvation that is poured forth by the water from Christ's side.

What I still do not understand is the linking of the symbolism of Pilate washing his hands of the guilt of Christ - with the flash back to Christ purifying his own hands before the consecration. This does not make sense to me. Christ is symbolically purifying himself according the ritual -- but Pilate is washing his hands of Christ. This does not make sense.

 

David Hughes

 

About 'The Passion', I began to be moved to tears when Our Lord was first brought before Caiphus, and later showed St. Peter denying Christ.  Yes, I could see our Lord's love for all of us, and His words of His body and blood bringing us eternal life, that He was the way and our Life.  I prayed today for all separated Christians to find faith in the Eucharist and the Rock of Peter. I hunger now for their conversion and unity more than ever, besides renewing my efforts to longer live for man, but to live through Christ's life and presence in my life.  I also see the need for the Catholic Mass in America to return to the worship of Jesus as Sacrifice.

Email friend

 

Rick,

I saw 'The Passion' three times - before I ever actually went to mass. At the Saturday Mass, at the Elevation of the Host - the vivid memory of Christ being lifted up on the cross - BECAME PRESENT TO MY MIND AT THAT VERY INSTANT! It was like nothing that has ever happened to me before.

 

You will never understand the effect of this - until you see the movie. You have no idea the impact of sanctification that this movie actually has - and what EVEN MORE impact it could have. I was burned out - even a moment late for mass -- and I sort of dawdled through the offertory. But - at the instant of the elevation -- I FELT LIKE I WAS RE-LIVING THE MOVIE -- BUT THIS TIME IT WAS NOT THE MOVIE!

 

THE MOVIE CAUSED THE MASS TO SEEM MUCH MORE REAL - MUCH MORE VIVID - AND MUCH, MUCH MORE IMPORTANT!

 

I was drawn immediately to absolute spiritual attention! My gaze was fixed on the image of The Crucified - now present above the altar. I immediately gave homage to 'The Crucified' - as if he was actually there - flesh and blood - on the cross -- because I knew that he really was! I have never prayed so ardently, or been so awe-struck at a mass before in my life! I always "knew" what was happening. I always "try" to do this. But - after having seen the movie -- the image was so vivid - that I prayed desperately to the crucified Christ - as if he was truly present crucified before me - like I have never prayed before.

 

And this was coming out of a spiritual doldrum. Imagine if I had been expecting this! It shook me up like I had never been shaken before - at the moment of the elevation. From that point on I was fixed in awe-struck attentive, reverent and fervent prayer.

No words can describe the actual fruit that having seen this movie had on me - when I went to mass. I believe everyone should watch this movie at least once every two weeks - for the rest of their lives. It will change the way Catholics view the mass forever.

 

David Hughes www.newjerusalem.com

 

Comments by Richard P. Salbato

 

I have not seen the movie and most likely will not until July, but I have always known what Mel Gibson shows in this movie, that the Mass is the same as the Passion of Christ and the Passion of Christ is the same as the Mass. When we attend Mass we are at the feet of the Cross. When we attend Mass we are in the presence of the entire Heavenly Host. the saints are there, the Apostles are there, St. Joseph is there, Mary is there, all the angels are there. We are at that moment linked to the Cross and to Heaven. We are brought back in time to Christ, Crucified. 2000 years of Catholics have known this and have tried to give us visual pictures to help us see this in the eyes of faith and to help our contemplation of it through icons, statues and most important in the architecture of the Church, where we have high vaulted roofs, stained glass windows, statues of the saints and angels all around and everything centered on Christ, Crucified and Present there in that Church and in that Mass, the Sacrifice.

 

In my opinion, without even seeing the movie yet, no one has given us a greater aid in this contemplation of the real meaning of the Mass for 2000 years - not the icons, not the statues, not the books, not the architecture, but this movie. The movie of the Miracle of Fatima converted me to the Catholic Faith and this movie will convert me from the mind to the heart in the love of Christ and His Mother.

 

Rick