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Refresher course to promote informed discussion on The Passion

Priests in South Australia will undertake a refresher course on the gospels to deal with possible parishioner concerns over Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ.

Adelaide's theological college is holding a seminar on the eve of the Adelaide premiere on 25 February.

The film, which focuses on the final days before Jesus's crucifixion, has angered religious academics and believers who claim it blames Jews for his death.

"It may prepare us for the prospect of questions from parishioners but it is a chance to study the importance and meaning of these stories," said college lecturer and spokesperson Fr Michael Trainor (pictured).

He expected the film to present an amalgamation of the gospels' stories.

"A person like Mel Gibson has not studied the gospels and so it is just presenting his understanding as a religious person," he said. "Any person open to the truth would be concerned if it was to provoke ill-feeling and anti-racial sentiment."

Archbishop Philip Wilson declined to comment on the film - but plans to see it.

Refresher for priests (Sunday Mail 15/2/04 - payment required)

Catholics cautioned about film reaction (Chicago Tribune 11/2/04)
Bishops' Committee Issues Collection of Documents on `The Bible, The Jews, and The Death of Jesus' (US Conference of Catholic Bishops 11/2/04)
Gibson's 'Passion' earns R rating for graphic violence (Catholic News Service 11/2/04)
Where Mad Max found faith (Sydney Morning Herald 15/2/04)
Gibson Denies His 'Jesus' Film Anti-Semitic (Reuters 15/2/04)
Christians Aid Marketing of Gibson's 'Passion' (Reuters 13/2/04)
Man Buys 6,000 Tickets For Passion Movie (Maranatha Christian Journal 5/2/04)
Pell praise for Mel Gibson Jesus flick (CathNews 11/2/04)
The Passion of the Christ (official website)

16 Feb 2004