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Mel Gibson Jesus film antagonising Jewish groups

Concerns that a new film, directed and financed by actor Mel Gibson, may revive the "scurrilous charges" that the Jews are collectively responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus have been raised by Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

Gibson's film The Passion, now nearing completion, will graphically depict Christ's suffering on the cross, "perhaps as no film has done before," according to an article in the current issue of The New York Times Magazine.

The article describes Gibson as the "star practitioner" of Catholic traditionalism, a movement which rejects all changes and reforms in Roman Catholic liturgy and attitudes since the 16th century.

An estimated 100,000 traditionalists in the US specifically reject the 1960s pronouncements of the Second Vatican Council, which collectively absolved the Jewish people, past and present, of deicide, and ruled that the Mass could be celebrated in languages other than Latin.

Citing a close friend of Gibson, the article reported that "most important, the film will lay the blame for the death of Christ where it belongs which some traditionalists believe means the Jewish authorities who presided over his trial and delivered him to the Romans to be crucified."

In Gibson's only public comment on the film, Fox newscaster Bill O'Reilly asked him last January whether it might particularly upset Jews.

Gibson responded: "It may. It's not meant to. I think it's meant to tell the truth."

Jerusalem Post

Is the Pope Catholic...Enough? (New York Times Magazine) (registration required)
Cult slur angers Mel Gibson (10/3/03)
Mel Gibson says he's being crucified for playing movie Christ (16/1/03)
Mel Gibson to produce film on Christ's Passion (10/9/02)
Simon Wiesenthal Centre | Wiesenthal Centre on Gibson film: Going back to pre-Vatican II may give rise to antisemitism

14 Mar 2003