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Pope to see Mel Gibson Christ movie

Pope John Paul II has reportedly asked to see Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, which is due for release on Ash Wednesday

The film, which cost $A47 million to make, was shot in Italy. It uses subtitles to translate the Latin, Hebrew and Aramaic dialogue.

However it seems the special Vatican screening has been delayed for a couple of weeks because Gibson is working on the finishing touches.

The film was due to be shown last night, but Gibson told organisers of the screening in an email on Monday night that he is still working on the final version and wanted them to see the finished product.

The movie, which covers the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ, has come under fire from some Jewish groups who claim its story could foment anti-Semitism because it portrays Jewish authorities as largely responsible for Christ's death.

But Catholic and other Christian groups, as well as biblical scholars, have defended the film, saying it sticks closely to accounts of the crucifixion as told in the New Testament.

Pope to see Mel movie (Daily Mirror 2/12/03)
Mel Gibson delays Vatican screening of Jesus film (Reuters/San Diego Union-Tribune 2/12/03)

Gibson film moves Billy Graham to tears (CathNews 27/11/03)
The Passion of the Christ (official website)
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
The Gospel according to Mel (National Catholic Reporter 28/11/03)
Fr Peter Malone: A Catholic analysis of Mel Gibson's 'The Passion' (Independent Catholic News 12/11/03)
Cardinal Kasper denies Vatican endorsing Gibson movie (26/9/03)
Vatican official praises Mel Gibson's The Passion (16/9/03)

3 Dec 2003