Bishop says Passion is incomplete in its theology
Bishop Crispian Hollis has warned that the Passion of Christ represents an "incomplete theological picture" and lays no claim to be the gospel.
The Bishop of Portsmouth who chairs the Strategic Communications Committee of the Catholic Bishopsí Conference of England & Wales has warned that the film portrays little of the events that led to Jesusí arrest and condemnation and only deals with His Resurrection in a few passing moments
In a statement he said; "This film is one personís view of the Passion of Christ"
ìIt represents an incomplete theological picture because it portrays little of the events that led to Jesusí arrest and condemnation and only deals with His Resurrection in a few passing moments.
ìIt draws on the four Gospel accounts of the Passion as well as adding some of the legendary and apocryphal stories which have been enshrined in the Stations of the Cross, a particularly Catholic and traditional devotion.
However, he made clear that he did not feel the film was anti-Semitic.
ìSome make the charge that the film is anti-Semitic. In my opinion, this charge is not sustainable. It is, however, true that the film portrays the final moments of the lethal conflict that undoubtedly developed ñ and which is recorded in the Gospels ñ between Jesus and the religious leaders of the Jewish people."
ìThis was a raw and bitter conflict between opposing and very different powers and to fail to portray it would have meant a very serious falsification of the Gospel accounts. But this does not make the film anti-Semitic. If that impression has been given or encouraged, then that is something which the Catholic Church very deeply regrets and deplores.
He continued; ìThere are many impressive features in the film but it must be stressed that this is no more than one manís view and spiritual experience of the Passion of Christ.
But he was also keen to make clear that the catholic church held no formal view on the film.
ìThis film does not speak in the name of the Christian Church any more than Pasoliniís ëGospel according to Matthewí does. Many will find it horrific and many will be moved to tears by what they see and with what they can identify in their own lifeís journey, and all who see it, with or without faith, will be able to experience something of suffering and death of Christ.
ìThe Catholic Church takes no stance and makes no judgement on the merits of the film. We neither endorse nor condemn it. It is a powerful representation of what is, for Christians, a crucial part of the greatest story ever told. However, in the end, filmgoers must judge for themselves whether this film is for them what it has clearly been for Mel Gibson, a testimony to his faith and his experience of the redeeming work of the Christ.î