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Mel Gibson, The Rabbi & The Pope 2004-02-27

Posted by clype in Humanities, Intolerance.

Pope John Paul-2

Israel's Chief Rabbi has urged Pope John Paul-2 to speak out against Mel Gibson's film 'The Passion of the Christ' to prevent 'Christian-Jewish' relations from being undermined by the movie.

Rabbi Metzger

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger wrote to the Pope expressing concern that the film could set back decades of 'Jewish-Christian' reconciliation since 'the Vatican' in 1965 rejected the notion that the 'Jews' were collectively responsible for death of Jesus.

'It is regrettable that a tendentious, malicious film should undermine the progress (at reconciliation) that we have worked for with such great care', Metzger wrote in the letter.

'Jewish' groups have complained that Gibson's film, which has grossed more than 14_million_GBP since its release on Wednesday, could foment 'anti-Jewish' attacks over its graphic depiction of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus.

'Many viewers may be led to believe that the 'Jews' are collectively responsible for the crucifixion of Christ. Indeed, the film may provoke undesirable "anti-Semitic" responses both in the short-term and in the long-term', he wrote in the letter.

Gibson, a traditionalist 'Roman Christian' who rejects the '1965 Vatican reforms', has denied the film is 'Anti-Semitic'.

It has been lauded by many 'Christian' believers as helping them re-assert their faith, but 'Jewish' groups and some theatre-goers have complained the film demonises 'Jews' by depicting them as having pressured the Romans into crucifying Jesus.

In a bid to prevent the film from reviving age-old tension between 'Christians' and 'Jews', US American bishops have issued a booklet highlighting 'the Vatican's' position that 'Jews' were not collectively responsible for Jesus's death.

Metzger urged the Pope to consider 'an appropriate response on the part of the Church' to the film. He gave no further details but said the response should be done in a way that does not attract further publicity for the film.

Metzger is Chief Rabbi for 'Ashkenazi Jews', who originate from Europe.

The Chief Rabbi of the Sephardi community of Jews from North Africa and the Arab world was unavailable for comment.

"Chief Rabbi urges Pope on 'The Passion'", Yahoo! News, 2004-02-27


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