THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (feb18pas.htm)


WEDNESDAY
February 18, 2004
vol 15, no. 49

The Countdown Continues!

We urge all to join us beginning this past Monday in a Nine Day Novena of Rosaries for the conversion of hardened, cold and lukewarm hearts through Mel's film.

    Find out which theaters will be showing 'The Passion of The Christ' nationwide. Go to Movie Theaters carrying the Movie and click on your desired state to find the city and theater. Then you can call the theater to reserve Advance Tickets for the theater of your choice.

    In anticipation of one of the greatest films impact-wise to ever open, we are counting down to Opening Day on Ash Wednesday when in theaters everywhere people will be moved by the Traditional inspiration of Mel Gibson who many see as a Hollywood movie star, but True Catholics see him as an evangelist in the purist sense. A true Apostle for the Truths and Traditions of the Church Christ founded. Mel has set on celluloid what has always been set in stone: the everlasting reminder of why Christ died for each and every one of us. We have that reminder daily in the Latin Mass when the alter Christus - the priest offers Him up as a propitiatory sacrifice in an unbloody manner to the Father for us. Prayerfully this movie will move the hearts and souls of millions to return to the Truths and Traditions of Christ's True Church.






Posted Feb 18:

    Editor's Note: The following letter was written by the daughter of James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family. Danae Dobson was inspired to write this after a private screening with Mel Gibson which she and her father were invited to view 'The Passion of The Christ' late last year. Considering all the negatives that have been consuming the media and minds as we head down the stretch to the opening a week from today, we wanted to bring this to you also because it is the feast of Saint Bernadette Soubirous, another young woman who was blessed with a spectacular vision long before the word 'motion picture' had ever been heard of. The message Bernadette received is the same message Our Lady is hoping all her children will take with them after viewing this powerful film. We have heard enough from the so-called 'Scholars' and 'Experts' - the Scribes and Pharisees. Now it is time to hear from an innocent soul for Danae offers an insight that truly comes from the heart.

Dear Friends:
A couple months ago, I had the unique privilege of accompanying my family to Mel Gibson's studio to see a private screening of his film, The Passion. Many of you have probably heard about this portrayal of the last 12 hours in the earthly life of Jesus Christ. I can say that The Passion is the most beautiful, profound, accurate, disturbing, realistic, and bloody depiction of this story that I have ever seen! It is truly amazing, and it left all of us speechless for a few minutes when it was over.

Mr. Gibson entered the room during the last ten minutes of the screening, and stayed for an hour to discuss the content and to answer questions. He's hoping that my dad and Focus on the Family will help promote it, and my dad has (without question!) agreed to do so.

Mr. Gibson expressed a concern about his position in the entertainment industry, and said that this film will affect his status from here on. When asked why he made the movie, he said that he had no choice in the matter--he felt called to the assignment, and he was determined to carry it out. Questions had been raised as to whether he can find a distributor. Asked about it at the screening, Mr. Gibson said confidently, "Oh, I'll find a distributor!"

The Passion should not be labeled a religious film, or something to be shown only in churches. Compared with examples of recent Christian films, like Left Behind, The Passion is a work of high art and great storytelling. The rough cut I saw contained graphic scenes, including the seemingly endless scourging of Jesus. The crucifixion scene is long, bloody and painful to watch. It's very disturbing, but it's also moving at the same time. While I was taking all of this in, I was thinking, "Christ did this for ME, and he would have gone through it if I was the only one in all the world, and the same goes for each person who has ever lived!"

To those in the Jewish community who worry that the film, which is scheduled for release next Easter season ('04), might contain anti-Semitic elements, or encourage people to persecute Jews, fear not. The film does not indict Jews for the death of Jesus. It is faithful to the New testament account. Also, Mr. Gibson, a devout Roman Catholic, does not elevate Mary beyond what Scripture says of her, which will broaden the film's appeal to Protestants.

The dialogue is in Aramaic and Latin. English subtitles are provided, and they are very helpful in following the story line. A decision about using them in the final version has not been made. My family and I tried to persuade Mr. Gibson to leave the subtitles in, and my dad pointed out that those who are unbelievers (or those who are weak in their understanding) will have no idea of what's going on in the flashback scenes of Jesus' life without subtitles.

In The Passion, few liberties are taken with the Gospel account, and the extra dialogue added helps round out the characters without damaging historical or Biblical accuracy.

Satan is cleverly played as an asexual being who at first seems to be an observer in the Garden of Gethsemane (and other scenes), but then becomes a snake slithering between the character's feet and attempting to wrap itself around the arm of the prostrate and praying Jesus.

The film is an intense two hours. It uses unknown actors, which keeps the focus on the message. By the end of the film (a unique portrayal of the Resurrection), the viewer is exhausted!

Thirteen years ago, actor Mickey Rooney wrote an editorial for Variety in which he said, "The onscreen depiction of religion is less than flattering, and, as a Christian, I pray the era of denigrating religion on screen comes to a screeching halt. And soon." His prayer has been answered in The Passion. It is a soul-stirring film that deserves wide distribution and viewing.

Its message is not just for Christians, but for everyone. I hope you all will support Mel Gibson's bold and courageous effort to portray the sacrifice that our Lord made for us. Pass this on, if you feel led, and be sure to see The Passion when it comes out. Yes, it is a disturbing film, but every person should see this realistic depiction of what Christ did for them!

Blessings to you,

Danae Dobson

P.S. I hope all of you are able to see this movie


Posted: Feb 17


PRAVDA USA RAMPS UP THE PURGE OF "THE PASSION":
Newsweek Peddling Gibson Foes' Revisionist Claims

2/13/2004 8:20:00 PM

By Phil Brennan - www.newsmax.com

All secular materialism, all the time, every week Newsweek magazine’s cover story about Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ," carries the byline of one Jon Meachem, but anybody the least bit familiar with the recent statements and articles by Boston college’s Paula Fredericksen, Sr. Mary Boys and the other dissident members of an ad-hoc committee of the U.S. Catholic Bishop’s Conference interfaith group will immediately recognize where Meachem got his material.

This group of Catholic and Jewish scholars has a very clear agenda - to, in effect, rewrite the Gospels to conform to their opinions of what their study of history reveals about the life and times of Jesus Christ. What has been accepted for 2,000 years as the inspired word of God is, in their view, more myth than fact. To put it bluntly, what Christians have accepted as inerrant, is in the scholars opinion, full of errors.

Here’s what Newsweek had to say.

"Though countless believers take it as the immutable word of God, Scripture is not always a faithful record of historical events; the Bible is the product of human authors who were writing in particular times and places with particular points to make and visions to advance."

In other words, the Bible is not the work of apostles guided by the Holy Spirit and therefor incapable of error. It’s simply the work of four fallible human beings with an ax to grind.

"Gibson set out to stick to the Gospels and has made virtually no nod to critical analysis or context."

In other words, Mel Gibson didn’t consult the self-styled "experts" or pay any attention to their "critical analysis."

"The writers of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John shaped their narratives several decades after Jesus' death to attract converts and make their young religion-understood by many Christians to be a faction of Judaism-attractive to as broad an audience as possible."

Matthew Mark, Luke and John, it seems were not evangelists inspired by the Holy Spirit, but merely four hucksters peddling their "young religion."

"We can also see why the writers downplayed the role of the ruling Romans in Jesus' death. The advocates of Christianity-then a new, struggling faith-understandably chose to placate, not antagonize, the powers that were. Why remind the world that the earthly empire which still ran the Mediterranean had executed your hero as a revolutionary?"

The Gospel writers slanted their biblical accounts to curry favor with the Romans who persisted in killing them anyway.

"And many scholars believe that the author of Matthew, which is the only Gospel to include the "His blood be on us" line, was writing after the destruction of the Temple in 70 and inserted the words to help explain why such misery had come upon the people of Jerusalem. According to this argument, blood had already fallen on them and on their children."

Just where did the "scholars" obtain that inside information?

"John's point in putting this line in Jesus' mouth is almost certainly to take a gibe at the Temple elite. But in the dramatic milieu of the movie, it can be taken to mean that the Jews, through Caiaphas, are more responsible for Jesus' death than the Romans are-an implication unsupported by history."

St. John put words in Jesus mouth? St. John, the " beloved apostle" lied ?

"Clear evidence of the political nature of the execution-that Pilate and the high priest were ridding themselves of a "messiah" who might disrupt society, not offer salvation-is the sign Pilate ordered affixed to Jesus' cross. The message is not from the knowing Romans to the evil Jews. It is, rather, a scornful signal to the crowds that this death awaits any man the pilgrims proclaim ‘the king of the Jews."

If that is true, why did the Temple authorities go to Pilate and demand that he change the wording to say that Jesus "claimed" to be King of the Jews. And how do they explain Pilate’s scornful rejection of their demand - " Scripsi, Scripsi" (What I have written I have written). Or did the gospel authors make that up too?

"It was as the church's theology took shape, culminating in the Council of Nicaea in 325, that Jesus became the doctrinal Christ, the Son of God ‘who for us men and our salvation," the council's original creed declared, "descended, was incarnate, and was made man, suffered and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven and cometh to judge the living and the dead.’"

In other words Jesus was not believed to be who he said he was for about 300 years after his death. That would have come as a surprise to the tens of thousands of martyrs who died because of their belief in his divinity.

"The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Newsweek has learned, is publishing these teachings in book form to coincide with the release of Gibson's movie."

These "teachings" are the teachings of the so-called "scholars" which are at odds with official Catholic doctrine and the teachings of the majority of Protestant and evangelistic biblical scholars.

I have been unable to confirm this or discover if the book is to be the work of the dissident scholars.

USCCB has not returned my call asking under whose auspices the book is to be published after promising to do so. It should be noted that the USCCB has denied that the group speaks for them in any way and is not an official body of the conference.

    Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor & publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He can be reached at phil@newsmax.com

Posted: Feb 15

More Media caught in the lair of their own lie!

Fox accused of twisting facts on 'Passion'

Catholic leader shows film not selectively distributed, as charged

Posted: February 14, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

The head of a Catholic group challenged a Fox News online column that criticizes Mel Gibson for "selectively distributing" his film "The Passion of the Christ" to avoid upscale, liberal and Jewish areas.

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, however, insists Fox News columnist Roger Friedman has his facts all wrong.

Friedman, after detailing where he believes the movie will be shown, says Gibson "consciously created a divisive atmosphere for the presentation of his film."

The Fox contributor said, "All this seems designed to keep 'The Passion of the Christ' out of neighborhoods that are considered Jewish, upscale, or liberal."

Donahue responded:

    "Roger Friedman says the movie will be shown in two Chicago theaters; in fact it will be shown in seven. He says it will not be shown in the L.A. neighborhood of Century City; in fact it will be shown at the AMC in Century City.

    "He says it will not be shown in the 'wealthier and trendier parts' of Los Angeles; in fact it will be shown in Marina del Rey, Burbank and Santa Monica. He says it will not be shown in New York's Upper West Side; in fact it will be shown at 86th and Broadway. He says it will be shown only in the 'fringe areas' of the Upper East Side; in fact it will be shown at 86th and 3rd and 64th and 2nd.

    "He says it will be shown at one theater below 34th Street; in fact it will be shown at three. He says it will be hard to find in Nassau County, Long Island; in fact it will be shown in seven theaters there. He says that theater-goers will be 'hard pressed' to find it in ‘either the south or north shore’ of Long Island; in fact it will be shown in towns like Glen Cove and Port Washington on the north shore and Merrick and Seaford on the south shore.

    "He says those who live in Westchester will also find it difficult to see the movie; in fact it will be shown in Larchmont, New Rochelle and Yonkers. And so on."

    Donahue suggested, wryly, "taking a course in Geography 101 might cure some of Friedman's problems, but it would not be enough."

    "That's because his forced conclusion suggests something else is at work: To say that Gibson is intentionally keeping the film away from Jews and the rich is not only flatly wrong, it smacks of malice," he said. "We look for Fox to correct itself."

Friedman cited the movie's website and another website, moviefone.com, as sources for where the film will be screened.

He said the pattern for the film's distribution, "for the most part, highlights black neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods. For example, all the Magic Johnson theatres in the country will show the movie, as will multiplexes in urban centers."

Newmarket Films, which is distributing the movie, Friedman said, "seems to have picked a pattern that concentrates heavily on the south and the Midwest, focusing on the Bible Belt and locations where 'The Passion of the Christ' will meet with the least resistance."

Friedman said his calls to Newmarket and to its public relations firm were not returned.

Noting the charges of anti-Semitism against Gibson and the film, Friedman writes: "The battle over 'The Passion of the Christ' is coming quickly now, and I for one am sorry that Gibson and Newmarket chose to keep it out of places where they thought the reception would be less than positive. Everyone should have the chance to see this film and decide for themselves if Gibson has done the right or wrong thing with his $25 million."

The columnist said it will "be interesting in seeing how the annual Oscar party given by Gibson's agent, Ed Limato, at his palatial Beverly Hills home will be received two days after the movie's premiere. And then there are the Oscars, where Billy Crystal is no doubt thinking of clever ways to spoof the movie."


Posted: Feb 14


Why Mel owes one to the Jews

By Rabbi Daniel Lapin
    Posted: February 13, 2004
    1:00 a.m. Eastern
    © 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

Two weeks before Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" flashes onto two thousand screens, online ticket merchants are reporting that up to half their total sales are for advance purchases for the film. One Dallas multiplex has reserved all 20 of its screens for "The Passion." I am neither a prophet nor a movie critic. I am merely an Orthodox rabbi using ancient Jewish wisdom to make three predictions about "The Passion."

One, Mel Gibson and Icon Productions will make a great deal of money. Those distributors who surrendered to pressure from Jewish organizations and passed on the movie will be kicking themselves, while Newmarket Films will laugh all the way to the bank. Theater owners are going to love this film.

Two, "The Passion" will become famous as the most serious and substantive biblical movie ever made. It will be one of the most talked-about entertainment events in history. It is currently on the cover of Newsweek and Vanity Fair.

My third prediction is that the faith of millions of Christians will become more fervent as "The Passion" uplifts and inspires them. It will propel vast numbers of unreligious Americans to embrace Christianity. The movie will one day be seen as a harbinger of America's third great religious reawakening.

Those Jewish organizations that have squandered both time and money futilely protesting "The Passion," ostensibly in order to prevent pogroms in Pittsburgh, can hardly be proud of their performance. They failed at everything they attempted. They were hoping to ruin Gibson rather than enrich him. They were hoping to suppress "The Passion" rather than promote it. Finally, they were hoping to help Jews rather than harm them.

Here I digress slightly to exercise the Jewish value of "giving the benefit of the doubt" by discounting cynical suggestions growing in popularity that the very public nature of their attack on Gibson exposed their real purpose-fund-raising. Apparently, frightening wealthy widows in Florida about anti-Semitic thugs prowling the streets of America causes them to open their pocketbooks and refill the coffers of groups with little other raison d'ętre. But let's assume the groups were hoping to help Jews.

However, instead of helping the Jewish community, they have inflicted lasting harm. By selectively unleashing their fury only on wholesome entertainment that depicts Christianity in a positive light, they have triggered anger, hurt and resentment. Hosting the Toward Tradition radio show and speaking before many audiences nationwide, I enjoy extensive communication with Christian America, and what I hear is troubling. Fearful of attracting the ire of Jewish groups that are so quick to hurl the "anti-Semite" epithet, some Christians are reluctant to speak out. Although one can bludgeon resentful people into silence, behind closed doors emotions continue to simmer.

I consider it crucially important for Christians to know that not all Jews are in agreement with their self-appointed spokesmen. Most American Jews, experiencing warm and gracious interactions each day with their Christian fellow citizens, would feel awkward trying to explain why so many Jewish organizations seem focused on an agenda hostile to Judeo-Christian values. Many individual Jews have shared with me their embarrassment that groups, ostensibly representing them, attack "The Passion" but are silent about depraved entertainment that encourages killing cops and brutalizing women.

Citing artistic freedom, Jewish groups helped protect sacrilegious exhibits such as the anti-Christian feces extravaganza presented by the Brooklyn Museum four years ago. One can hardly blame Christians for assuming that Jews feel artistic freedom is important only when exercised by those hostile toward Christianity. However, this is not how all Jews feel.

From audiences around America, I am encountering bitterness at Jewish organizations insisting that belief in the New Testament is de facto evidence of anti-Semitism. Christians heard Jewish leaders denouncing Gibson for making a movie that follows Gospel accounts of the crucifixion long before any of them had even seen the movie.

Furthermore, Christians are hurt that Jewish groups are presuming to teach them what Christian Scripture "really means." Listen to a rabbi whom I debated on the Fox television show hosted by Bill O'Reilly last September. This is what he said, "We have a responsibility as Jews, as thinking Jews, as people of theology, to respond to our Christian brothers and to engage them, be it Protestants, be it Catholics, and say, 'Look, this is not your history, this is not your theology, this does not represent what you believe in.'"

He happens to be a respected rabbi and a good one, but he too has bought into the preposterous proposition that Jews will re-educate Christians about Christian theology and history. Is it any wonder that this breathtaking arrogance spurs bitterness?

Many Christians who, with good reason, have considered themselves to be Jews' best (and perhaps, only) friends also feel bitter at Jews believing that "The Passion" is revealing startling new information about the crucifixion. They are incredulous at Jews thinking that exposure to the Gospels in visual form will instantly transform the most philo-Semitic gentiles of history into snarling, Jew-hating predators.

Christians are baffled by Jews who don't understand that President George Washington, who knew and revered every word of the Gospels, was still able to write that oft-quoted beautiful letter to the Touro Synagogue in Newport, offering friendship and full participation in America to the Jewish community.

One of the directors of the AJC recently warned that "The Passion" "could undermine the sense of community between Christians and Jews that's going on in this country. We're not allowing the film to do that." No sir, it isn't the film that threatens the sense of community; it is the arrogant and intemperate response of Jewish organizations that does so.

Jewish organizations, hoping to help but failing so spectacularly, refute all myths of Jewish intelligence. How could their plans have been so misguided and the execution so inept?

Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that nothing confuses one's thinking more than being in the grip of the two powerful emotions, love and hate. The actions of these Jewish organizations sadly suggest that they are in the grip of a hatred for Christianity that is only harming Jews.

Today, peril threatens all Americans, both Jews and Christians. Many of the men and women in the front lines find great support in their Christian faith. It is strange that Jewish organizations, purporting to protect Jews, think that insulting allies is the preferred way to carry out that mandate.

A ferocious Rottweiler dog in your suburban home will quickly estrange your family from the neighborhood. For those of us in the Jewish community who cherish friendship with our neighbors, some Jewish organizations have become our Rottweilers. God help us.

    Radio talk-show host Rabbi Daniel Lapin is president of Toward Tradition, a bridge-building organization providing a voice for all Americans who defend the Judeo-Christian values vital for our nation's survival. For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Jennifer Brunson at (206) 236-3046.


  • For articles from February 7 through February 13, see Previous Countdown articles VII

  • For articles from February 5 through February 6, see Previous Countdown articles VI

  • For articles from February 2 through February 4, see Previous Countdown articles V

  • For articles from Tuesday January 27 through February 1, see Previous Countdown articles IV

  • For articles from Sunday and Monday January 25-26, see Previous Coundown articles III

  • For articles from Thursday January 22 through Saturday January 24, see Previous Countdown articles II

  • For articles from Friday, January 16 through Wednesday January 21 see Previous Countdown articles I
  •    See the movie trailer for Mel Gibson's phenomenal movie The Passion of The Christ. We also urge you to please support his releasing this powerful movie in the way he needs to, by being faithful to the literal words of the Gospel of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Please sign the PETITION which will help this noble cause and encourage your friends and neighbors to sign as well. Help Mel fulfill Our Lord's command in Mark 16: 15-16. Traditional Catholics and committed Christians can make the difference!

    DAYS TO GO!

      February 18, 2004
      vol 15, no. 49
      COUNTDOWN TO THE PASSION