There is a saying that 'God doesn't make junk!" That's true, but after suffering through 'Judas' on ABC this past Monday night I can definitely say surely man can make junk and does! 'Judas' is living proof! I had decided, even though my bride Cyndi warned against it, to waste two hours watching this 'biblical' account of the Iscariot, played so effeminately and wimpishly by, well whoever he was he was cast right out of the O.C. or was it Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? I think it was the kiss right on the lips that gave that away, or was it the wrestling between 'Jesus' and Judas? Heck, if I wanted wrestling I could have just flipped the channel to WWE's Monday Night RAW. At least the latter was better choreographed. Yeah, if you didn't see it, Judas and Jesus grappled in fun while this guy who the viewer is supposed to believe is the Son of God spouted pundits that would be rejected in the worst sitcom.
And that's what this was, the worst sitcom. The writer of this trash, yes, someone actually took credit, was Tom Fontana, also the executive producer who, as the light-weight national religion columnist - so embraced by equally light-weight neo-Catholics - Terry Mattingly affirmed, "is best known for his gritty work in crime dramas such as Oz and Homicide: LIfe on the Streets." Perhaps that should have been a clue to heed Cyndi's advice. But no, being a glutton for punishment I plodded on. No wonder I caught a flu-bug. Was it God's way of punishing me for not listening to my wife? Mea culpa. Will I ever learn?
The opening scene should have alerted me. There were so many X-crosses of supposedly crucified Jews in that scene that I wondered whether there was a tree left in Lebanon. Of course, this is where Fontana began his long journey away from the Scriptures for we are to believe that Judas' hate for the Romans derived from the fact his father was crucified because he was a Jewish fanatic that hated Romans and thus, it was transferred to his son.
Anything to justify Judas.
While Mel Gibson was a master of the flashback, Fontana was a master of the malaprop, flashing forward to 2004 and the beach in Newport, whoops I mean Galilee, though you couldn't tell the difference, especially when they spoke. It was a mixture of hip-hop and valley girl-speak without the gals. Just a bunch of the boys, including 'Jesus' himself out for a lark where every once in a while he would stir them up with pitches that sounded more like either Cal Worthington selling cars on late night TV or a street peddler trying to rev up emotions. In other words, cheesy and chintzy. From this depiction, we can easily assume this screen-christ's three years in public ministry was one big picnic with definitely more ants than answers.
Instead of a strong presence emoting absolute apologetics, Fontana's 'Jesus' was an apologist to the enth degree. By that I mean he was apologizing for everything. Fontana could be accused of plagiarism since it sounded often that he was taking it word from word from John Paul II for all his idiotic apologies. "I'm sorry," he kept saying. I don't know how many times the viewer was confronted with an apprehensive 'Son of Man' who jargonized the scriptures with such phrases as "what d'ya say?" when pleading for Judas to join his band, whoops, apostles. Then there was "I think we should be cautious" line and the "I tend to lose things" remark or "I don't think that's a good idea, but what do you suggest" flippancy that totally humanized this man, or "sorry, I lost my temper." That, folks, is pure heresy for, as Catholic doctrine teaches: "He was a man like us in all things except sin." That means Our Lord Jesus Christ could not sin even venially! But Fontana and his producers - the Paulist Fathers and Paulist Productions -who pushed this puff on a naive public, could care less about accuracy. The Paulists further defiled themselves by calling it a "Fatima Production." Maybe the Fatima director Monsignor Guerra already filled them in on how the shrine is going to change and so they're trying to stay ahead of the game.
That's about the only thing they're going to get ahead in, because anyone who has even an inkling of knowledge of the New Testament wouldn't be able to make heads or tails over the account Fontana and the Paulist propagandists passed off as possible. But there is not even a whisper from the rabid critics of 'The Passion of The Christ' as to these inaccuracies. Guess they're too busy skewering Mel on the spit of supposed schism because he dared blend and segue the Gospel scenes with approved private revelation from the holy nun Anne Katherine Emmerich! The facts are, folks, that Jim Caviezel's portrayal of The Christ moved the viewer to look within and search his or her own soul for so convincing was he that most forgot he was an actor and actually saw and felt the presence of the Son of God throughout The Passion of The Christ. Conversely, watching Judas one was more reminded of a Monty Python episode without "the dirty bits," of course, replete with English accents. If Andy Rooney wanted a few laughs he wouldn't have had to pay $9 or $10 bucks, but just waste two hours watching a rival network's tripe, but then he has to be used to that type of menu. He's been peddling it himself for years. But I quite suspect even Rooney would agree with me that 'Judas' was a veritable comedy of errors.
And the errors? Ah, let me count the ways. How about the beloved disciple, who more resembled Jack Black than Saint John using the Our Father to raise a woman from the dead. Excuse me, but where in the scriptures is this before Whitsunday? Or the centurion, called Flavius who butchers the Domine non sum dignus with the idiotic, "Give the word and my boy should stop suffering" or Peter, after hearing Judas' plan for taking over and clearly knowing that was never Christ's intent, meekly asks the betrayer "What can I do?" Then there was the "Homicide" side of Fontana coming through in Judas when he interrogates the husband of the deceased wife who soon will reappear after several days in the tomb - "I need to ask you a few questions about your wife." Puh-lease! Or Fontana's 'Jesus' getting flustered, flummoxed and frantic, portraying more of a mad-man in need of a Prozac rather than Providence and stating "I'm afraid" or "I'm confused" or "let me finish," when interrupted and that his whole purpose was "only by dying and my return will they believe." Say what?!!
It was an actual gut-buster, folks. From the wimpy Sermon on the mount where 'Jesus' says in an almost matter-of-fact way in playing the crowd - in a way Bill Clinton watched and reacted to the polls - how great it will be "when we all get to Heaven" to a red-headed 'Mary' who doesn't seem to have a clue why she said 'yes' and what's happening; to a Mary Magdalen who the apostles wouldn't look at because they were too busy doing gay - oops, guy stuff. The costuming was right out of the Salvation Army, especially the Roman soldiers. I've never seen costuming like that in any Roman-themed movie. Nothing matched. If Martha Stewart weren't so tied up with legal matters awaiting jail sentence, I would imagine we'd have heard her outroar over the inaccuracies in this film. I swear on a few of the Jewish disciples in an earlier scene instead of an Old Covenant shawl they looked more like multi-colored Mexican serapes. The fact is most of the characters were as clueless as its writer and producer. In fact, the only thing that seemed authentic were the scorpions which, we all know, are plentiful in Morocco. They could have saved a lot of time and money by just canning the whole project and having a round or two down at "Rick's Place." Ah, yes, 'Play it again, Sam.'
As far as Fontana's 'Jesus' setting the scene for 'the beginning of a beautiful relationship' he is presented as saying to Judas in a most unauthoritized and unorthodox way that more resembled two male friends who were more than just good friends: "I wish you'd love yourself the way I do" and "a small part of your heart is hidden from me" to Judas and the latter's response, "I'm drawn to you like a thirsty horse to a riverbed." Ah, yes, West Hollywood and San Franciscans had to love it, all the way to the entry into Jerusalem, which was right out of Haight-Ashbury replete with flowers in the hair.
I actually half expected a pitch for PETA it was so politically correct that it was sickenly saccharine. I couldn't help but think that they should have cast Steven Seagall in the part of 'Jesus' because he so abhors violence, yet knocks everyone around in every flick. Contradiction? Oh, that doesn't begin to describe the inconsistencies in this film, a final project, as Mattingly reminds us, of the late Father Ellwood "Bud" Kieser, C.S.P., founder of the Humanitas Prize. And what is this Prize? Why, it's the epitome fiance of humanism awarded to such television luminaries as Fontana himself, along with Rob Ulin for his moving work in Roseanne - yes, the one with the obnoxious and profane queen of blubber Roseanne Barr. There are several other far-left agnostics on the list, including two-time winner Aaron Sorkin of The West Wing ilk, yes that same Sorkin who has made such a mess of his life. But thanks to Fr. Kieser and the poor misguided Paulist Fathers, mediocrity and sin are now to be honored and celebrated. As the amply-girded late comedian Victor Buono used to say as one of his signature phrases, "Lord, if you love me, shut my mouth."
Yet, from somewhere in Purgatory - at least we hope - Kieser is looking down and approving of this pabulum project Fontana followed through on. One has to ask: why? One reason I suspect was to further the heresy that everyone goes to Heaven and that hell is virtually empty, but don't tell that to Saint John Chrysostom who affirmed that "the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of rotten bishops" or to the Fatima visionaries who were given a shocking glimpse of the eternal hellfire. It wasn't empty to them. Yet, in a statement to Mattingly, Father Frank Desderio, President of Paulist Productions, spews "The Catholic Church teaches that there is a hell, but we don't know if anyone is in it. Only God knows if Judas was somehow able to repent and find forgiveness."
Traditional watchdog Gary Morella refutes this quite simply. "This is a lie because Our Lord confirmed with His Own words in Sacred Scripture that hell is populated in regard to the previous reference to Judas, and in talking about the eternal punishments due to grave sin more than any other New Testament figure. Is God a liar? That is what the revisionists preaching universal salvation would have us believe, a heresy that would make God's sacrifice of His Son for our redemption unnecessary. Saying hell in unpopulated is the same as saying that there is no hell. There is no difference because the former de facto implies the latter, again making God out to be a liar!"
Yet Desiderio, as most likely Kieser himself believed, persists in being unapologetic about the
movie's ending. "That is what this movie is saying," insists the wayward Paulist, "it's never too late to turn back to God." This is emphasized with the words of 'Jesus' telling Judas as he's plunging headlong into the abyss with a taut hemp around his neck, "I want you to spend eternity with me - with my father. It's not too late. It's never too late."
Again Morella has a succinct answer to this rubbish. "God is omniscient knowing all things past, present and future because they all exist in the eternal present for Him. This same God is recorded in Scripture as saying it would be better for Judas if he had never been born. And also that he who betrayed Me has committed the greater sin. So to suggest that hell is unpopulated makes God out to be a liar. Moreover, it is in stark contrast to the approved apparitions of Fatima where Our Lady showed the visionaries a vision of a well populated hell."
Despite this, Desiderio is so bold as to ask "Did Judas go to heaven? This may seem like a radical idea, but it's a logical question for modern Catholics." Ah, there's the key - "modern Catholics." As Gary so aptly pointed out, "The only reason that this is a logical question for modern Catholics is because they have been so dumbed-down with woeful catechesis that they don't know any better." But that is why the Vatican II agenda has been able to prey on the impoverished sinners who are so in need of the laver of truth for, like Pilate, they have washed their hands of personal accountability and the ineffable Catholic truths.
Speaking of Pilate, I have to laugh that the railers against Gibson found inconsistencies with Gibson's Roman Governor whose screen time was quite limited, but accept Fontana's choice to play Pilate: Tim Matheson who seemed almost intricate to the whole story, all the way to his last line when he quipped to Caiaphas, "I assure you, after today no one will ever hear the name Jesus again;" this of course just seconds after his hysterical wife had delivered the bad news that Pilate's name would forever be cursed throughout history. Talk about taking liberties. And that's what Matheson did in his role playing. Why, I saw little difference between the toga-wearing 'Otter' in the bawdy 1978 'Animal House' and his playing Pilate in 'Judas'. Indeed the bawdiness was there, so seductively exhibited in his wife Claudia who was a cross between a sensual sex-goddess wearing very, very little and a control-freak in a perfect imitation of, oh, say a Hillary Clinton. I guess with Fontana and the Paulists, once a liberal, always a liberal.
And that is the very intent of this Paulist production just as Mattingly asserted: "'Judas' offers a modern, made-for-television, post-Vatican II Catholic approach."
Ah, there's the rub. In that statement and in the two different films is the great difference between the True Church, so faithfully portrayed in Mel's 'The Passion of The Christ', and the synthetic, novelty-ridden, gotta-be-modern-to-please-man mess of 'Judas' that so vividly represents the church of Vatican II. Ah, the great divide is so evident.
With Mel's film you have a masterpiece in the realm of Michelangelo that is priceless and ageless; on the other hand with Fontana's mess you have an Andy Warhol or, even worse, something that more appropriately represents kindergarten art. The fact is, folks, there is no comparison, just as there is no comparison between the Mass of All Ages - the divinely-ordained Traditional Latin Mass and the man-made concoction that can be ad-libbed to whatever is the whim of the presider and the sanctuary saracens who have invaded God's holy houses.
If anything, 'Judas' clearly delineated between treasure and trash. We can thank Fontana for that for he has further helped vindicate Gibson and placed him even higher on the pedestal of genius, while, by Fontana's and the Paulist Production's releasing this piece of scriptural scribble, we can more clearly see the difference between light and darkness.
One was loyal to the scriptures in every way, the other tossed it against the bathhouse wall and kept whatever stuck. There was so much skewering of the scriptures in 'Judas' that I have to quote Rabbi Schmuley Boteach's complaint, "Where in scripture does it say that?" Oh, the rabbi has been silent about Judas you say? Figures. Where are the biblical scholars, the Sister Mary Boyces when this light-haired, blue-eyed stereo-typed beach boy posing as 'Jesus' says "God is in me and works through me"? Noticeably absent, which makes it all the more evident who they're in bed with. Modernists love mayhem, modernists revel in rebellion.
Where is Abraham Foxman or Rabbi Marvin Hier or that Gibson-basher Frank Rich of The New York Times when a film clearly portrays the Jews as a bumbling, conniving, corrupt bunch of rulers, rotten to the core? Are you telling me, my Jewish friends, that you accept the stereotyping of the way the Jews, and most specifically Fontana's Caiaphas was portrayed? Talk about a chiseler, a conniver, a back-stabber and heartless pompous ass. This Caiaphas magnified these traits to the max and there is no outrage from the Jewish community or the ADL? What hypocrisy! The fact that 'Judas' clearly showed the cunning motives and questionable morals of the Jewish leaders should have them lambasting this picture with every ounce of their chutzpah. Talk about degrading. 'Judas' depicted the Jew as shrewd, calculated, mischievous and wicked. I'd be interested in their take when Caiaphas said defiantly, "I am the law" or "the jackal must die for the sake of our people" or to Judas when he told the high priest he didn't want any part of the plot, Caiaphas replied in such a Machiavellian manner, "you are a part of it." It was blatant stereo-typing of the worst traits of any human being, and here especially besmirching Jews in the worst way.
" Oi vey," they should be saying. But all we hear is silence, dead silence. Then there was the scene when the Jewish high priest lied to Judas and confided, that he agreed about 'Jesus' being the Messian and that it was all a "matter of semantics, but we can't endorse him publicly." Did that hit home with anyone? It should. Just think of one of the high priests of the curia Cardinal Dario Hoyos saying the very same patronizing mumbo-jumbo to Bishop Bernard Fellay that modern Rome cannot admit publicly to the Bishops that the Latin Mass was never abrogated. The silence of Gibson's critics is deafening. Was there any doubt that it was the Jewish High Priests who sought to put 'Jesus' to death and not the Romans? No! It was very clear, unlike Mel's movie where the blame is shared by everyone. Yet nothing from the ADL, the USCCB, the liberal media? Why? Was it, as one could deduce from their underhanded tactics, that they couldn't find Fontana's father? Or was it that their agenda is exposed in their utter stillness of dissent because it is not anti-Semitism or too much violence that is their real gripe, but the pure and simple truth that Mel's Christ came too close to hitting home with the truth? Way too close. Ah, that's it in a nutshell.
They are more inclined to accept the bumbling beach boy as the christ because he in no way posed a threat to anyone, let alone himself from the backlighted last supper table that more resembled a jewelers display case to the tupperware cup 'Jesus' held up. One thing that surprised me was that he said 'for the many' - as in pro multis instead of 'for all.' Must have been a mistake that the script editor didn't catch. How dare this neo-Catholic presentation follow actual scripture or Trent.
But that was the only orthodox moment, if you can call peeling away at an unleavened pancake orthodox. Why, in the 'passion scenes' I've seen better make-up in a flour mill. The blood and scars were applied in such an odd manner that he wasn't even breaking a sweat, and when the soldier put the crown of thorns on his head it was like placing a hat on his head and maybe an "ouch" was heard, but that's all. In fact, in one scene where he was being 'nailed' to the cross we see him jerk his head and clearly the crown of thorns bobbed up to show without a doubt that it was nothing but a cheap prop that the make-up people couldn't even keep on his head. It resembled more a scene right out of 'Ed Wood' than the wood of the cross. And the 'crucifixion scene', well it reminded me more of 'The Life of Brian' lacking any reverence; as did the rest of the film. In fact, to show the similarities two of the three pictures by the PewPOINT masthead come from that film and one can barely tell the difference.
Noticeably missing, which I still find puzzling considering the addition of Flavius as the believing centurion, was the piercing of Christ's side where blood and water gushed forth. Nothing gushed forth in 'Judas' except regurgitation of more anathema and what really stuck in this editor's craw was the 180 degree switch from light and breezy modern-speak to the Gregorian chant of the Agnus Dei which basically came out of the fog during the time Flavius and the rest so easily took him down from the cross in a pouring rain. No thunder, no earthquake, no ripping of the temple floor, no true Pieta, just a lot of puddles and a rather sopped person who was supposed to be the Mother of God holding a barely bleeding body with very few marks on him. Ah, yes, the modern perspective of the passion. Why?
For the very same reason the bloody suffering and death has been relegated to being "medieval and out-of-touch with modern thought." It's code for saying we don't need the absolutes of Trent any more because 2+2 no longer adds up to four, but whatever we would like it to be. You see we are now gods ourselves so why do we need a God? Especially One that would be so demanding and hold us accountable for doing whatever we want to do? And, if you dare remind us or try to stir our consciences as to what we are trying to forget and have been so successful in getting others to forget as well, then we will come at you with a passion of anger and hate. That's the tolerance creed of the Modernist. Just ask Father Nicholas Gruner or Mel, and now, we understand, Jim Caviezel himself, if this isn't the case.
So no wonder they hate Traditional Catholics so much. You can just hear the architects of the Vatican II spirit saying 'we don't need the stinkin' crucifixes any more, we'll just do as the Protestants did and have a plain ol' cross. No need to remind us of sacrifice and suffering, we're going to emphasize the meal and you had better like it or else.'
Again, I ask where is the manual by the USCCB warning against the stereo-typing of Jews in Judas? Not there? Am I surprised? Of course not. Where are the talking heads dissecting the film as they have done for the past month over Mel's movie? Not there? No news is good news they say, but with 'Judas', well it is very forgettable. So much so that I would venture to say the Nielsen Ratings will even bear this out. You see films like 'Judas' go the way of 'Gigli' whereas masterpiece landmarks like Mel's 'The Passion of The Christ' find their way into the echelons of excellence reserved for very few. "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 20: 16). So those expecting Foxman, Boteach, Hier, Rich, Rooney and company to be fair and balanced might as well quit waiting. It ain't gonna happen because it's not part of their agenda. Those who gravitate towards junk soon become junkies and that's what they have become as well as so many dumbed-down bone-headed ostrich-neck Catholics who think it's alright to vote for John Kerry or approve of "same-sex unions but not gay marriage." Either way it's sin and that can never be tolerated.
Speaking of sin, I almost feel like I needed to go to confession after watching Judas for I felt guilty wasting two hours with such rubbish. But then, in the rationale of the neo-Catholic I could easily brush it off with the excuse that it was only a movie and you can't blame yourself. Maybe that's what's needed more of: Blame ourselves for our own actions. That is something that Mel so masterfully succeeds in with 'The Passion of The Christ". As for 'Judas', well, no one said God doesn't allow junk!