Matt C. Abbott
Ten years later, Gibson's 'Passion' still stirs passion; Brave New York priest's bold reflection; Priest gets email: 'Go kill yourself. Your f----- family too'
By Matt C. Abbott
February 23, 2014

Sister Rose Pacatte, a member of the Daughters of St. Paul and the director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Los Angeles, has a column at the website of the National Catholic Reporter "re-viewing" Mel Gibson's 2004 film The Passion of the Christ in light of its tenth anniversary. Click here to read it.

Most people, I think, are aware that Mel has struggled with his personal demons over the last several years. Well, he is by no means alone in that regard. As for the film, I found it quite moving and edifying. Others obviously did not, referring to it as "torture porn" and declaring it anti-Semitic.

Interestingly, one comment in the comment box at NCR's website illustrates the anti-Christian sentiment of many of the film's critics to this day.

"Purgatrix Ineptiae" wrote:
    Gibson's movie was Antisemitic trash, but Gibson did not invent the Antisemitism; he merely portrayed in film what is in the gospels. If it weren't an article of faith that the Gospel of St. John was inspired by the Holy Spirit, one would have to concede that it is also basically just Antisemitic trash.

    This is the real difficulty that people insist on talking around and pretending not to see; Antisemitism is fundamental, pervasive and ineradicable in the New Testament. If all the Antisemitism were expunged from the Christian religion, there would be nothing left but the cult of Hercules, with a slightly less muscular slightly more talkative Hercules.
There you have it: The sentiment of "Purgatrix Ineptiae" – at least he or she is honest about it – is what I exposed ten years ago in my columns on this very subject. Those who declared The Passion of the Christ anti-Semitic were, for the most part, opposed to anything other than the modernists' version of the Gospels. Yes, some objected only to the graphic violence, but the vast majority of people who blasted the film were either anti-Christian bigots or modernist Christians.

An example of a modernist Christian, you ask?

Commenter "Y.A. Warren" wrote:
    '... the focus on Jesus suffering overshadowed his life...' This seems to be the problem in what is called 'Christianity.' Jesus was a joyful Jew, sharing The Holy Spirit with all he encountered in his thirty-three years physically walking the earth as a human. It is pure sensationalism, for the purposes of assuming power by instilling fear and guilt, that the [Roman Catholic Church] focus has been mostly on the last three days and physical miracles. The great miracle happened at Pentecost when The Holy Spirit that had been so well-lived and taught by example of thoroughly Jewish Jesus, was freely left to all on earth. It is time to reclaim The Holy Spirit of Jesus from the perverse political system called 'Christianity.' I don't know who these religions are following as their christ, but it doesn't look like the example of Jesus, to me.
How about another example?

Commenter "jimmccrea" wrote:
    This movie smacked of perverse Catholic attraction to the 'mystery of pain and suffering' that has been foisted on people way too much with 'offer if up' nonsense.
You get the picture.

A final quote from Sister Pacatte's column:
    [Rabbi Yitzchok] Adlerstein expressed concern that The Passion of the Christ represents the enduring image of Judaism to the present and coming generations. 'The fact is,' Adlerstein said, 'that there are two movies here: one that Christians see and one that Jews see. I don't know if this can ever change.'
You got that right, Rabbi Adlerstein.

Bravo to Father Louis Jerome, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Staten Island, N.Y., for his bold reflection in the Feb. 16 parish bulletin regarding NFL prospect Michael Sam and homosexual activism. Click here to read it (PDF format).

Father John Zuhlsdorf reports that a fellow priest recently received the following vile email (the obscene language has been redacted; click here to read Father's blog entry):
    Are you drunk, sicko get the f*** out of my inbox it's midnight. You expect me to show up there after you told me I could face discrimination from you flock of subhuman morons? F*** you. You're lucky you haven't been served with a human rights notice. F****** Nazi c*** s***** f*****. You know you gotta be pretty f***** naive to believe the filthy b******* you spread. Do the world a favor and go kill yourself. Your f***** family too. Master of theology master of F****** b*******. Must be proud. Creepy pedopriest
The priest who received the email wrote to Father Zuhlsdorf:
    I have to admit that this left me deeply disturbed. I'm beginning to seriously wonder if there might be a demonic element to segments of the sexual liberation movement, and now I think I have a glimpse of what people might be thinking when I get hostile looks while wearing my Roman collar in public. Ask your readers to pray for us. Ugly persecution is coming.
Another priest to whom I sent Father Zuhlsdorf's blog entry wrote back:
    I get [this type of hate mail] all the time ... We [faithful priests] even get it from bishops sometimes.
© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if they're marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)


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