"THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST"
ABOUT MEL GIBSON
||"The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just
directing traffic." Mel Gibson, speaking to a Christian group in
Colorado during the summer of 2003.
About Mel Gibson:
Mel Gibson (b. 1958) is an Academy Award winning actor and director. He
wrote, directed, produced, and financed the "The Passion of the Christ." He is
from a large Catholic family of 10 brothers and sisters. He and his wife, Robyn,
have one daughter and six sons. 3
His only daughter, Hannah (b. 1983) has decided to become a nun. He told the
Italian newspaper Il Giornale: "I believe in God. My love of religion
was given to me by my father.... I was happy when Hannah decided to become a
Gibson's precise religious affiliation is unclear. He once considered entering
the Roman Catholic priesthood. He has described himself as "an
old-fashioned Catholic." He has made speeches opposing abortion access,
the use of contraceptives, and equal rights for gays and lesbians. He
experienced a spiritual crisis in the mid 1990s at the age of 35. Gibson told
The New Yorker magazine: "I got to a desperate
place...And I just hit my knees. I had to use [Christ's] wounds to heal my
wounds." 7 During 2002-SEP, he revealed that he
no longer believed in the Roman Catholic Church as
an institution. He said: "I agree with everyone who says the Vatican is a
wolf in sheep's clothing." 3
He lives in the parish served by the Roman Catholic church "Our Lady of
Malibu." However, he has funded construction of his own traditionalist,
independent church: the Church of the Holy
Family, in the same area. The mass is conducted in Latin. 4 His church is allegedly not
affiliated with any Roman Catholic diocese. "So, according to Church law,
it’s schismatic, not a Catholic church at all....The Church’s Code of Canon Law
defines schism--separation from the Church--as 'the refusal of submission to the
Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him'."
In the interview with Il Giornale he said: "I believe in
God. My love of religion was given to me by my father."
Mel Gibson allegedly shares many beliefs with his
father, Hutton. The elder Gibson "is an outspoken critic of the
Catholic Church and a vocal adherent of the 'sedevacantist' movement, so called
from the Latin phrase meaning 'empty seat'..." 2 The group
is a subset of the Catholic Traditionalist movement, and has a total membership of only a few
thousand adherents. They deviate from the Roman Catholic church in some
fundamental ways. They believe:
||That the office of pope in the Roman Catholic
Church is currently vacant.
||That every pope since 1960 has been spurious.
||Many of the reforms of the Vatican II council
(1962 to 1965) are heretical.
||The mass is to be conducted in Latin, not in
the native language of the people.
||Mary is regarded as a co-redemptrix and mediatrix, sharing these powers
with Jesus Christ.
This essay continues below.
Gibson feels that God called him to make this movie. Justifying the extreme
violence, he told 5,000 pastors at an early Chicago screening: "Blood was
always required in covenants of the Old Testament. Blood was really required
here and every drop of it. It's a blood sacrifice....It will probably be
savaged by critics. But I've had my career, and I'm bored with it. I created a
secular utopia for myself in Hollywood, but it was empty. There are more
important things. Civilization was changed forever by Christ. Whether you're a
believer or not, His death affects you." 7
In an interview with the EWTN Network, Mel Gibson said that the movie: "...reflects my
beliefs-I’ve never done that before....I don’t know if I will ever work again.
I’ve said that this is a career killer and it could well be, but that doesn’t
matter because I don’t care." 1
In an interview with Christianity Today, he said: "I've been actually
amazed at the way I would say the evangelical audience has—hands down—responded
to this film more than any other Christian group." What makes it so amazing,
he says, is that "the film is so Marian."
Online.ie reports that Mel Gibson has selected the topic of his next
movie. It will describe the Jewish rebellion which occurred about two centuries
before the birth of Jesus. He said: "The story that's always fired my
imagination is the book of Maccabees....It's about Antiochus, the king who set
up his religion in the [Jerusalem] Temple and forced them all to deny their true
God and worship at his feet and pray to false gods....Maccabees stood up and
they made war, they stuck by their guns and they came out winning. It's like a
Western." The victory of the Maccabees and a priest named Mattathias led to
the celebration of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. 8
On 2004-AUG-31, Christianity Today reporteds that:
"According to an article in last week's TV Guide, Gibson was so stung by the
charges of anti-Semitism that he's spent much of the last six months relatively
in hibernation—well out of the limelight. The accusations 'affected him
greatly,' Father William Fulco, who spent long hours on the set in Italy, told
TV Guide. Another friend, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the magazine,
'I never see him anymore. I think he's hiding in his house'." 9
"EWTN to air 2nd exclusive interview with Mel Gibson on 'The Passion
of Christ'," EWTN. com, 2004-JAN-13, at:
"Actor's activism points to schism, author says," 2002, at:
(Essay is no longer online as of 2004-FEB)
"Mel Gibson's only daughter opts to be a nun," Sydney Morning
Herald, 2002-SEP-15, at:
"Mel Gibson fuels old fires," Evangelical-Times.org, 2003-SEP,
Raymond Taouk, "What are we to think of the Sedevacantist Position?,"
"Mel, Mary, and Mothers," Christianity Today,
- Todd Hertz, "Mel Gibson's 'Passion' for
Christ," Christian Reader, 2004-MAR/APR. Online at:
- "Biblical 'Western' to follow Passion,"
Online.ie, 2004-MAR-19, at:
- Mark Moring, "Mel Gibson's film now on video,"
Christianity Today, 2004-AUG-31, at:
Copyright © 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2004-FEB-24
Latest update: 2004-SEP-9
Author: B.A. Robinson