Q. Is it true Mel Gibson directed a film about Jesus that depicts Jews as Christ killers? –Arnold Rosenberg, Fort Myers, Fla.
A. Those rumors began because Gibson, 47, and his father belong to the "Catholic traditionalist" movement. Its members disagree with many reforms of Vatican II, which absolved Jews as "Christ killers." His dad also made anti-Semitic remarks to a reporter. But Mel hasn’t endorsed those remarks, and we’re told The Passion–which he also plans to release next Easter, in Latin and Aramaic without subtitles–doesn’t repeat the anti-Semitic canard that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death. Asked if it will upset Jews, Mel said, "It may. It’s not meant to."
How about that? S. I. Newhouse and his publishing empire have the power and the money and the most widely read column in America, so why not use it to tell us that the Roman Catholic Church has declared itself in disagreement with the Gospels of the New Testament and that those Gospels actually say something quite different from what they clearly say?
Now, they would have us believe, it is nothing but an "anti-Semitic canard that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death." What they are saying, in other words, is that it is not true that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death, and that if you say that they were then you are one of those most despicable types of bigots known as an anti-Semite. Furthermore, if you go back up to their second sentence you will find there the very clear implication that the Vatican II "reforms" agree that it is not true that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death.
I’m sorry, but if there really were someone named "Walter Scott" writing for Parade Magazine I would have to call him a liar. This is from "Catholics, Jews, and Vatican II: A New Beginning" by Thomas Beaudoin at http://historicaltextarchive.com/sections.php?op=viewarticle&artid=76
"Regarding Jewish guilt for Jesus' death, the Declaration asserts that ‘...authorities of the Jews and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ.’ ‘Still,’ it continues, ‘what happened in His passion cannot be blamed upon all the Jews then living, without distinction, nor upon the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as repudiated or cursed by God, as if such views followed from the Holy Scriptures.’"
On the one hand, I could not imagine that Mel Gibson might have directed a movie that suggested that the Jews of today somehow should be blamed for Christ’s death. On the other hand, I cannot imagine any sort of authentic passion play that would not show clearly that the "authorities of the Jews and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ."
May 12, 2003
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