From the title of this editorial you might assume the subject matter is the final four and the NCAA basketball tournament in San Antonio this coming weekend. No, but the city where this takes place is home to the Alamo and therein is a clue to what we might all be prepared to do for as the players take to the cage floor, we must dig in and hold the fortress of Holy Mother Church against the endless barrage of demons who have all been uncaged from hell's prison. Rather than many capturing these beasts, we, as a civilization, have become animals ourselves in our lowest based senses, giving in to the depravity of the monsters of mammon.
Consider the zoo this world has become: There is a remote possibility that this Supreme Court, with the exception of three, could strike God from the Pledge of Allegiance and that would be sad, but the fact is the vast majority of Americans have already struck the Almighty from their lives by their lifestyles and embrace of other gods whether they be money, power, greed, the flesh, food, or entertainments that are not pleasing to the Divine.
The homosexual movement is riding on lucifer's tail right into every state, threatening the very institutions that strive to protect the family unit. In Canada they are about to pass legislation that will make citing scriptural passages against the sin of sodomy as a "hate crime." That's right. Is nothing sacred? The sodomites, in their latest thrust to gain acceptance for in-your-face vile sin, have tried to equate their 'plight' to the African-Americans' fight for equal rights. As if they were the same. I will say it again and again. Sin has no civil right! Blacks were greatly persecuted and used and in one sense there is a link to the slavery of the Negro slaves of the south and modern slavery to the flesh, but one called out to God for deliverance; the latter calls out to satan for total accommodation. The devil is only too happy to meet their demands even though they can hear in their hearts Our Lord's prophetic words from the Cross "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" and yet, they do know what they are doing for sodomy and abortion, two sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance, will be avenged. We have seen so many signs of God's anger and yet we blindly plod on as though this is merely a bump in the road on our way to a utopian society.
Why? Well, modern Rome isn't helping by promulgating this whole concept by bowing to the demonic UN and stressing religious freedom, something the Church and her past Pontiffs soundly condemned. But no matter how much proof of this we provide, there are still those who refuse to believe, and I am talking about 'Catholics' who still think we should obey this Pope no matter what he says because he could not possibly be wrong on anything! Yes, folks, I do get e-mails from readers who actually are that blind. I would suggest for those who are so enamored with the reforms of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo that they spend a few dollars and purchase Atila Sinke Guimar„es' latest book "Vatican II, Homosexuality & Pedophilia" where they will see, without a shadow of a doubt that the whole problem stems from the very top for the past 40 years. Like the sodomites, adulterers, humanists, modernists, freemasons, communists and agnostics, the modern Pharisees have sold themselves into slavery.
Isn't it interesting that the vast majority of these progressive Modernists in the secular and ecclesiastical sector are united on one thing? That is to express caution against the 'unauthorized version' of Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of The Christ' for we must be careful of 'possible anti-Semitic' insinuations. Enough already. I must ask if they caught the latest aberration of Holy Scriptures with the airing Sunday night of 'Jesus' on, where else, but the Andy Rooney network. I knew of it because they had promoted it constantly on the college games Thursday, Friday and Saturday. See, there is a hoop tie-in.
Anyway, as I was formatting pages for the next issue, I flipped on the set to watch this latest attempt to present a biblical replication of anything having even one iota of the excellence that Mel's movie had. Again I was left wanting, greatly wanting; not that a movie could inspire my faith for you see, this is all it was - a movie, poorly made in the modernistic mentality as 'Judas' was if you remember my editorial two weeks ago No one said God doesn't allow junk. It was no soul-moving experience like the unparalleled magnificence of 'The Passion of The Christ'. But then comparing Dom Perignon to Ripple is not really fair, and that is what the rest of these movies are pouring down our throats: the cheap wine of political correctness. Another reason that's not being fair is that no movie before Mel's fiat has ever had the kind of impact it does for all others were sorely missing the One Ingredient essential to Mel and his magnum opus: the blessing and inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The Third Person, for the most part, is hardly recognized in tinseltown, and, sadly, most other places on this earth including Rome.
For now let me briefly tell you how bad CBS's 'Jesus' was. Bad! For those who blasted Mel for his portrayal of the Jewish leaders (are you listening, Rabbi Schmuley Boteach?) there was no one caricatured in a worse light than CBS' Herod . It was obvious from his noticeable hooked-nose to his mannerisms as the ruling king of Galilee that he was a wimp of the court and rancid sissy, trying to bargain with Jesus and anyone within earshot. While Mel made the characters come alive in authenticity from their ethnicity to their customs to the language and apparel, CBS' reminded me more of a hodge-podge of whoever was in the casting line and whatever was leftover in wardrobe. As for Caiaphas well, he resembled more of the looks and inflections of Sean Connery than the leader of the Sanhedrin. I know the Bible says he was Jewish; the same for the Apostles, but they were all British actors . Pardon me, but had Rome conquered the Britons already or should I say had they adopted the crisp elocution of the English tongue? I think not. I know there has been a lot of revisionism in history, but this is ridiculous. Mel is raked over the coals for applying the language of the times with Aramaic and Latin, and yet we're supposed to buy this revisionist portrayal of these biblical characters in CBS' version?
Speaking of revisionism, except for the Last Supper, any resemblance to scriptural accuracy went out the window from the character playing Jesus choosing his apostles all at one time as if it were a softball game or The Bachelorette, picking them out of the crowd where the rest might be considered 'losers.' CBS' Jesus was apologetic to people rather than preaching apologetics, walked in the water, not on it, winked a lot, kept his distance from his mother Mary, played more in cameo form by Jacqueline Bisset, yet he seemed to spend a lot more time than the Bible indicates with Mary Magdalen, played by Debra Messing who, I might add, even when she was crying her mascara remained perfect. Yes, according to CBS, Revlon was big in those times.
This movie might as well have been called Judaean Idol for the man who played CBS' Jesus was Jeremy Sisto who more closely resembled Ryan Seacrest - the shallow mouthpiece of American Idol - with his quips, smile and disheveled hair, and the way he worked the crowd. I was half expecting Ryan, erh, ah 'Jesus' to start signing autographs. He was full of irreverence except those few times he slipped in some wisdom without changing expressions. That was evident throughout to his throw-away lines such as when Mary praised him after bringing Lazarus back from the dead. She said, "Your father would be so proud of you," and he quipped, "which one?" Ha, ha. It was just before this that one of the apostles said to another while skeptically watching Jesus call Lazarus forth, "Someone should stop this. It's a cruel joke." I thought he was talking about the movie and the atrocious script by Suzette Couture. But alas, a glutton for punishment, I saw it through.
The CBS promo had read thus: "Jeremy Sisto stars in this drama about the man Christians believe to be the son of God and the Messiah. The movie reveals how, during his relatively short life, Jesus' spiritual teachings and loving ways inspired numerous followers--and continues to inspire billions nearly 2,000 years after his crucifixion. The drama explores Jesus' relationships with his mother, Mary, his 12 apostles and his devoted friends and followers, such as Mary Magdalene. It also illustrates the politically charged times during which Herod is the unpopular ruler of Galilee and Roman governor Pontius Pilate rules over Judea -- to the disdain of the Jewish leaders and residents."
I'm here to tell you it did none of the above unless one was depending on USA Today for their news in soundbyte form. It was deficient in message to the enth degree, but it was definitely politically charged, and not just between the Jews and the Romans but also the Left and the Right. In truth, the scriptures were skewered for political correctness except for the Last Supper scene. There, it was very loyal to the Scriptures, much more so than the Novus Ordo synthetic rite for, as bad as this movie and 'Judas' as well were, they were accurate with the words of the Last Supper and establishment of the Blessed Sacrament. I watched closely to see how they would spin it and was quite relieved to hear Sisto say "Take and eat. This is my body," and then "Take and drink from it, all of you. this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me." Save for the missing "New and Eternal" before Covenant or Testament and the 'Mysterium Fidei', it was loyal to the essence of the Sacrament, something the church of Vatican II has not been. I also found it interesting that Peter was the first to receive the chalice.
There was a brief part, definitely not in the Bible, when Jesus is alone at night with Mary Magdalene and he fondly remembers his foster-father Joseph. Yet, this truly touching moment passed quickly for accuracy was never the main priority of this film. For instance, prior to the Last Supper, which took place on Passover, CBS' Jesus says, "In two days it will be Passover. In two days I will be killed." Pardon me, but that's a gross error right there. He was not killed on the Passover, but on Good Friday! But then who said the producers and directors had any sense of spiritual purpose for souls in making this movie? Quite unlike Mr. Gibson whose sole purpose was for the spiritual welfare of souls.
As for the location of wherever they filmed this, did you know they had birch bark trees in Israel? I didn't either. But to think it would adhere to anything authentic, well you're barking up the wrong tree. After all, CBS presented it! That should have been clue enough for me, but still I plodded on as it drifted into more modernism from when Jesus initiated a game of tag. 'Judas' gave us wrestling, CBS gives us 'tag-you're it.' Anything to humanize him and make him a regular joe. I don't know what was worse: surviving this drivel or bearing up under the commercials and obnoxious CBS promos for more inane upcoming programs with an announcer who had more emotion than Sisto ever showed. I mean the CBS announcer made it sound that if you missed this or that program you wouldn't be able to live with yourself. Whereas Mel's movie clearly showed one couldn't live without Christ the Lord, CBS pushes shows you can't live without like Still Standing or Everybody loves Raymond. Not everybody. Then after another commercial we're bombarded with more hype for CBS fare like 'Cold Case,' 'Joan of Arcadia,' 'CSI' and 'Survivor;. I think Gabriel Garnica showed us in his column The Reality of 'Reality Entertainment' yesterday how modern television programming is totally off kilter and out of touch with the true reality that without Christ and without living as He asks, we are dead to Him.
And speaking of off-kilter, the new-age entrance into Jerusalem reminded me more of a Hindu festival in India with palm trees, fronds and flower petals, lots of pink flower petals. I was waiting for the sacred cow to cross paths with the mule Jesus was riding in parade-like fashion. All that was missing were the clowns. But they were behind the cameras. Other than rounding up the extras, that scene had to take less than a day to shoot. A token shot to be sure. Not so with the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here I almost had to laugh at the caricaturization of the man who represented satan and the fact that Abe Foxman, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Frank Rich, Christopher Hitchens and that filibustering Rabbi Boteach railed so that satan would appear to Jesus in the garden and then keep reappearing throughout Mel's movie following Judas and then gliding in and out of the crowds who were, by and large Jews, as he kept his eyes on Jim Caviezel's Christ and Maya Morgenstern's Mary. Well those naysayers of Gibson should be happy that in CBS' version the devil reserved his only cameo for the Garden where he appears not in horns, tail and a pitchfork, but more like the executive producers at CBS or FOX; yes, especially FOX for, save from the modern dark suit, this concocted satan played by Jeroen Krabbe was a spitting image of Seacrest's antagonizer on American Idol, its on-air producer Englishman Simon Cowell. Exhibiting all the cantankerousness of Cowell, right down to the black T-shirt, this modern satan played with Jesus' psyche as Hollywood special effects and pc took over.
It began with the obvious bashing of the Catholic Church once they were thrust into the future in the center of the Crusades, and all those who died defending the cross were castigated as heartless fiends who killed in barbarian fashion. "Killing for Christ will be a big business through the centuries, Christ Jesus," satan tormented him in trying to convince him his death would be in vain. "The world at war, what a concept," the character playing satan exclaims and then Jesus asks 'Why?' Why would he ask such a thing? He knows all. Yet, despite this obvious dogmatic error, Jesus expounded about free will and that was good, and just as I'm starting to think this film might be absolved of heresy despite all its superficiality, we hear Jesus say to the devil "I forgive you." I'm sorry, there is no forgiveness for those condemned. The living yes, but not the devil. It is interesting in illustrating the horrors of wars that these Hollywood 'geniuses' didn't show the horrors of abortion or any of the horror from sins of the flesh. Oh, no, they wouldn't touch that with a ten-foot dolly cam for they would have to make that free will choice to abandon sin.
On to the trial and condemnation. Now I'm waiting for Rabbi Schmuley to come on Joe Scarborough's 'Scarborough Country' some time this week and rail about this film because it depicted Caiaphas as pushing Pilate, yet Boteach tells us that it was Pilate who was the cruel one, yet it was Caiaphas who presses for the death penalty. In 'The Passion of The Christ', 'Judas,' this film, and even Zefferelli's modernistic 'Jesus of Nazareth' Pilate was not a ruthless governor as the Rabbi insists. Neither was he such in the scriptures. So where did this idea germinate? Pilate was one who hated where he was stationed and, in the spoiled licentious ways of pagan Rome, cared more about his own temporal riches and appetites. There is not one iota of reference to his inhuman cruelty other than crucifying rebels who sought to overthrow the Romans, a death penalty law of the times. That was why the Pharisees called for Crucifixion which could only be decreed by an edict from the Romans. Perhaps, however, before Rabbi Schmuley Boteach or Rabbi Marvin Hier or any of the others crying 'anti-Semitism' say another thing, they'd be wise to read Father Louis Campbell's excellent sermon from this past Passion Sunday Blessings and Woes.
Then there was the 'hurry-through-the-passion' scene where after Pilate, played by Gary Oldman in almost the same swish-buckling could care less caricature fashion as Johnny Depp played in 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' washes his hands of the whole affair by dropping the line, "I've thought of the final blow." Then it's quickly up the hill to a walled-in Golgotha. No heart-rending scenes of Mary and Jesus' on the way, no Veronica, not even a Simon of Cyrene, just get to the top as quickly as possible. Forget the Via Crucis, let's get it over with. In this respect I'm all for getting through this film as fast as possible so I can return and be fed with something of substance such as Father Lawrence Smith's inspiring poetry on each Station of the Cross, which we'll be bringing you each day through Holy Saturday in his Via Crucis Hey if CBS can drop in promos left and right, why can't we?
And why can't they get it right. Instead of focusing on the scripture, we get Peter trying to take out his vengeance on Judas. Ah, quickly, let's hear your refrain, Rabbi Boteach, "Where in Scriptures is that?" This time I'd agree with you, Rabbi, if only you would ask this question about CBS' version. But that's not really your agenda, Rabbi, because you are really afraid of your people realizing the truth of Mel's film - that Jesus was truly the Son of God and you've had it wrong all this time. Coming to that decision is a hard pill to swallow, but a very necessary one for your own salvation. Again, read Fr. Campbell's magnificent sermon.
But back to the CBS version where we have the journey to Calvary where he stumbles on flat cobblestone, yet nimbly scurries up the last steep way to the summit while carrying a heavy cross beam that is so evidently styrofoam by the way he's holding it, that it would crush any man holding it the way he was. In CBS' depiction Mary never goes near Him until after he is dead; a far cry from Mel's immensely touching scenes that tear at the heart and soul as why he died for us. But if you were not a Christian, you too might ask from watching this film, why did he die and why did he have so many followers. Was it is charisma and good looks? That's about the only thing you could take away from this sad excuse for a story of the Christ. Yet this is what those accusers of 'The Passion of The Christ' have constantly expressed: "Why didn't Gibson give us more of His life?" Well, I can guarantee what CBS and, a few weeks before that, ABC have given us is not edifying. I doubt a murderer or thief, after watching CBS' 'Jesus' or ABC's 'Judas' would have even a tinge of conscience and turn themselves in. They did after watching Mel's film.
Just as 'Judas' did a total 180 at the Pieta scene, so also CBS' 'Jesus' reverted to Traditional Catholicism at this point but only ever so briefly with the haunting lullaby of Pie Jesu, Qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem aeternam..." It was sung right up to the quickly rushed Resurrection-Doubting Apostle-Ascension scenes all on the same day and hour at one time finale. It reminded me of the way they end the Novus Ordo after communion: quickly with very little time to cleanse the paten, chalice and necessary prayers of ablution and Last Gospel to remind us as Saint John says in his first chapter that "He came into His Own and His Own knew him not." Well this guy playing Jesus was one I sure didn't recognize, especially when we are presented with the director's take of the Ascension by Jesus pulling more of a disappearing act then Ascension as he vanished into backlit windows which were more reminiscent of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas than the upper room. And so after he had told them merely "Preach the good news. I am with you always," poof, he's gone. There was no hint of what he said in Mark 16: 15-16 or John 21: 15-17. Instead, his disciples just look at each other like "hey, where'd he go" and then all join for one big charismatic hug! Fade out! Over! Finally! Hey, it's Lent. Consider those two hours spent watching it as penance. I do know I want to wash out the bad taste not only in renewed prayer but by seeing 'The Passion' again. Hey, maybe there was some redeeming quality to it after all because it prompted me to repent of watching such tripe and to vow to pray more.
But before we leave CBS' 'Jesus' on the rerun shelf, I've got to point out a big faux pas because of the effort to be so politically correct. They show on the cross the nails through his wrists, which seems to be the latest conjecture of the modernists, yet when he shows Thomas his wounds they are in the back of his palm. But then, as I said earlier, since when has CBS done anything accurate lately?
Neither has FOX for Friday night I was alerted by an eastern viewer of a terribly anti-Catholic episode of Wonderfalls, a new new-age series on Rupert Murdoch's slease-oriented network. Since we have satellite (mainly because we can't get cable and only one station via antenna) I was able to watch the last half hour of this show on the western feed even though I had to forsake a mighty exciting college game between the Longhorns of Texas and the Xavier Musketeers. See the basketball link again.
I much rather would have been watching the "Sweet 16" playoffs rather than the terrible fare I turned to. You talk about Catholic-bashing at its worst, this show had it from its depiction of a resentful and negative priest who, in the end, turns out to be a dead-beat dad and returns to take care of a daughter he was responsible for before he became a priest. A few problems with this is the fact the daughter was no more than seven years-old. Are we to expect he ran right out of a marriage and was accepted immediately into a seminary and then summarily promoted to Holy Orders? Please. Then again, considering today's hierarchy, that is possible but highly implausible, especially considering the fact that very little background or character development was conveyed about him. Yet in the end he is applauded for leaving the priesthood to return to lay life. So much for any germ of vocations for this was full of germs of anti-Catholicism.
Then there was a really mixed-up modern 'nun' who is having a crisis with her 'vocation' because of cheese. Yeah, you heard right. So the 'heroine' of this new-age show, who herself is possessed by demons though they're passed off as 'cute inanimate characters' such as a molded deformed lion or a monkey bookstand, is supposedly sent to help this nun somehow. The plot was pretty bizarre but there were three scenes that really got to my craw. One was in the heroine's parents' home when the mother, identified as a Presbyterian, really disses Catholics with some of the most snide remarks that, made against any other religion, would be grounds for not only an immediate apology but instant cancellation. But for Catholics, well it's open season. The Catholic League's Bill Donohue has said this more than a few times emphatically on the various newstalk shows, but I'd sure like to see him go after this latest blatant anti-Catholicism. I wrote him about it this past weekend. We'll see. Secondly, there was a mock confession in which the sacred became truly the profane when the scene turned to a men's room and we find the priest on the john in one closed stall and this fellow sits down on the toilet of the adjoining stall and starts to pour his heart out. The stalls were even purposely made to look like a confessional in their dark wooden exterior and the fact the 'priest' even mentioned - "is this a confession?"
What really steamed me, though, was when the exorcism began. Oh, boy, talk about an atrocity! First of all, exorcism is something that has been totally abandoned in the New Order church as the chief exorcist Father Amorth has attested to. Secondly, it is only a priest, an authorized priest who has received the order of exorcism and who has prepared properly in prayer and fasting who could perform such a rite. Thirdly, they would never have new age candles lit everywhere as was the case here where this Novus Ordo secular-like nun is determined to perform an exorcism even though she hasn't got a clue what she was doing. More of the feminist mentality that has pervaded the newChurch and society. Then, to make matters even worse, she holds a ceremonial knife as if to plunge it into the victim. Talk about mixing voodoo and a very serious, sacred rite of Holy Mother Church that, prior to Vatican II, had always been preserved and carried out in the strictest, most careful fashion. But the coup de gras was when this modernist new age nun starts chanting the Pater Noster in Latin! Puh-lease!!!
Is there nothing sacred? I doubt very much whether she would have any concept of Latin since very few modern priests do.
But it is this kind of sacrilege that we are faced with on television and from the pulpits of many New Order churches, and, more recently from presidential candidates, specifically John Kerry who is spouting such heresy that 'his Catholic views have nothing to do with his politics.' How can anyone buy such rubbish? Dr. Frank Joseph has a very revealing column today on this very point so I won't elaborate here because, frankly, if you're like many Traditional Catholics you'll have that inner knowledge that God is not going to hold back His hand of wrath very much longer. It is close and we have the interior intuition that what will follow soon will surely eclipse what we have seen this month which, with the sodomite anarchy in San Francisco and other places, blatant legislation against God in Canada, the growing acceptance of sin by the UN and even the Vatican, well, folks, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. Knowing what the Almighty did when His chosen people rejected Him in the past, it is only inevitable that the inevitable is a slam-dunk in this month that can only best be described as March Madness gone berserk!