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NZ Church petition censors to shift ground on The Passion

The media office of the Catholic Church in New Zealand has urged the country's Film & Censorship Board of Review to lower its "R16" classification for Mel Gibson's The Passion to "R15".

Catholic Communications Director Lyndsay Freer said many teachers and parents feel that Year 11 students have the maturity to view the film if their parents are happy for them to do so, especially if it is seen in the context of their school's religious studies program.

Year 11 includes 15 and 16 year olds, who are currently prevented from seeing the film owing to its "R16" classification.

The Church submission argued: "This is our rationale. For those whose Christian faith is an important part of their life, the film is viewed in a different perspective and context from that of a non-Christian viewer."

It goes on to explain that the Christian faith is founded upon a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who was "faithful to the will of his Father".

"Part of this fidelity is his submission to the ultimate sacrifice of suffering and death, rather than retract his message of love and forgiveness."

In Australia, The Passion of the Christ is rated MA, which means "persons under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian".

Catholic Communications on film: The Passion of the Christ (Catholic Communications NZ 10/3/04)

Office of Film & Literature Classification
Australian Government Office of Film & Literature Classification | The Passion of the Christ
Pain of playing Jesus (The Age 23/2/04)
World Catholic Association for Communication Analyzes "The Passion" (Zenit 22/2/04)
Christ in the crossfire (The Tablet 21/2/04)
Applause for Mel's passion (National Catholic Reporter 23/2/04)
'Christ-killers' (WorldNetDaily 20/2/04)
Film Review: 'The Passion of the Christ' (Reuters 22/2/04)
The Goriest Story Ever Told (Time 1/3/04)
By His Wounds We Are Healed (Cardinal George Pell, Archdiocese of Sydney 22/2/04)
Michael Novak: Pain, power, passion (The Australian 25/2/04)
Tony's departing advisers (BBC 24/2/04)
Boy dies in Glasgow school 'incident' (The Scotsman 24/2/04)
Passion inspires (The Age 27/2/04)
Passion player (The Observer 29/2/04)
Drenched in the blood of Christ (The Observer 29/2/04)
Gibson's Passion forced to find sanctuary (Scotland on Sunday 29/2/04)
Agreed: All the Publicity Is a Triumph for 'Passion' (New York Times 28/2/04)
'The Passion' and 'liturgy wars'; A tour of Denver; Annual Religious Education Congress in Los Angeles; Canadian talk show TV; The John Jay report (National Catholic Reporter 26/2/04)
It's Lent, go to a movie! (National Catholic Reporter 27/2/04)
Our complete Passion coverage (Jewsweek 26/2/04)
The Passion of the Christless: Interpreting the words of fear ( 22/2/04)
Hollywood Bosses Vow to Destroy Gibson ( 26/2/04)
Bishops, others weigh in on 'Passion' (Catholic News Service 27/2/04)
Mel Gibson's dangerous guilt trip (The Age 2/3/04)
A son's dangerous passion, in the name of the father (Sydney Morning Herald 1/2/04)
Jesus Christ works miracles at box office (Reuters 29/2/04)
Leap of faith (29/2/04)
Christopher Hitchens: Schlock, Yes; Awe, No; Fascism, Probably (Slate 27/2/04)
Kevin Costner defends Mel Gibson's 'Passion' (
Went to See The Passion of the Christ on Friday (Catholic and Enjoying It 29/2/04)

11 Mar 2004