December 16, 2004

A Passion for Hatred

Curious to see what all the commotion was about, I recently rented the Passion of the Christ.


It was so bloody and violent that I cannot for the life of me understand how any Christian could be moved by it.

An orgy of torture and pain are not very spiritual to me.

That being said, I was not just taken aback by the anti-semitism but also by the hateful and disgusting portrayal of the Kohanim. Ignorance of the Priestly garb aside, the movie portrayed the Kohanim as vicious, hypocritical, vengeful and ugly.

I call upon those Christians who so passionately (pun intended) defended the movie to read their Bible. Don't rely on fanaticism or centuries old slander repackaged into a movie to be your source.

Here is a timely quote from the U.S. Bishops:

"Jews should not be portrayed as avaricious; blood thirsty (e.g., in certain depiction's of Jesus' appearances before the Temple priesthood or before Pilate); or implacable enemies of Christ (e.g., by changing the small "crowd" at the governor's palace into a teeming mob). Such depictions, with their obvious "collective guilt" implications, eliminate those parts of the gospels that show that the secrecy surrounding Jesus' “trial” was motivated by the large following he had in Jerusalem and that the Jewish populace, far from wishing his death, would have opposed it had they known and, in fact, mourned his death by Roman execution (cf. Lk 23:27)"
-U.S. Bishops, Criteria for the Evaluation of Dramatizations of the Passion (1988), B,3,d.

For a great response to the movie, please visit this wonderful site:

Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ: A Challenge to Catholic Teaching
Philip A. Cunningham
Executive Director,
Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College