Scottish church leaders give verdict on passion film
Religious figures in Scotland have been giving their verdicts on Mel Gibson's controversial new film which portrays the death of Jesus, reports the BBC.
About 600 members of the clergy attended private screenings of The Passion of the Christ in Glasgow and Edinburgh on Tuesday.
Christian church leaders welcomed the film and said it was a movie they would encourage their congregations to see.
But one Jewish leader said he felt the film may provoke anti-Semitic reaction.
The screenings, the first in Scotland, were organised by a London-based Christian radio station which invited Scottish ministers to see the film in advance of its general release on 26 March.
Adam Dillon, minister of Knightswood St Margaret's Parish Church in Glasgow, said after the showing: "I don't think that any anti-Semitic claims are justified at all.
"Jesus was a Jew, and its quite obvious in the film what Mel Gibson is trying to portray there is not anti-Semitic.
"All he has done is been utterly wholesome and true."
But Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, warned of an anti-Semitic backlash.
Mr Borowski said: "The production is exceptionally graphic. But that is the worm in the bud: to tell a violent tale so graphically is to exploit and condone that violence.
"Is this an anti-Semitic film? Only in the eye of the beholder. Is Mel Gibson an anti-Semite? Not on this evidence. Might the film foment anti-Semitism? Undoubtedly yes.
"For that reason and that reason alone it might have been better to have left it unmade."
But Church leaders who viewed the film said they would be recommending it to their congregations.
The Right Reverend Idris Jones, Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Glasgow and Galloway, said: "I don't understand why anyone would take exception to this film at all.
"I am glad that I have seen the film, and I think that as a devotional aid to people who already have a Christian faith, it might be quite helpful."
Nigel Bryant, minister at Uddingston Church of the Nazarene, said: "It was powerful - I think it brings home what Jesus really did for us.
"I think we will publicise this film among our congregation, and amongst people on the wider fringe of our congregation, and encourage people to go along to really get the gist of what Christ went through for us."