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Monday, April 05, 2004
A BISHOP GETS IT

Here is a link to a new Pastoral Letter on Cinema from Most Rev. Michael Saltarelli to the People of the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware. The document takes a strong stand in support of The Passion of the Christ among other movies, encouraging the People of God to look to works of cinema to see reflections of the Fact of Christ.

I actually was invited to give notes on the letter when it was being written, which I was pleased an honored to do.

Here's a snippet...

...the brutality of the film, which has been the center of so much controversy, is itself a visual device to express saving truths about the inconceivable horror of sin, and the boundless love of God. For every sin is truly an act of violence against God. And only Divine Love could have powered Jesus to his feet over and over through the torment of pain and suffering that was the journey to Golgotha.

The Passion of the Christ also offers some of the most striking Eucharistic imagery ever seen on the screen. One of the great themes of encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia is the Holy Father's emphasis on the sacrificial nature of the Mass: "The Eucharist is indelibly marked by the event of the Lord's passion and death, of which it is not only a reminder but the sacramental re-presentation. It is the sacrifice of the Cross perpetuated down the ages."(#11) The Holy Father has diagnosed that over the past few years, some in the Church have lost the sense of the reality that the Mass is the unbloody renewal of Christ's sacrifice on Calvary. Gibson’s film makes this point visually by interspersing scenes of The Last Supper with scenes of the Crucifixion. We cannot leave this film without understanding that the Mass is both a sacred meal and the unbloody renewal of Christ's sacrifice.