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Spokesman for Spanish Bishops Conference rejects accusations of anti-Semitism in “The Passion”

.- The spokesman and secretary general of the Spanish Bishops Conference, Fr. Juan Antonio Martinez, said this week “The Passion of the Christ” “is not anti-Semitic nor does it inspire hatred for the Jews.”  Instead it presents “the rejection of evil, compassion for Jesus, and faith in his sacrifice of love.” Fr. Martinez made the statements during in celebrations marking the beginning of Holy Week in the Spanish town of Gijon.

He said he was mystified at how the move “has inspired such angry reactions,” some of which in response to the film’s supposedly “gratuitous” violence.  

“Gibson has also been accused of making suffering into entertainment and of portraying too much gratuitous violence.  It is true that this is a brutal story of torture and death, perhaps unsuitable for sensitive people and for minors, but gratuitously violent?  With the exception of a few cases of artistic license, it rather reflects what we know to be true about those truly savage executions,” said Fr. Martinez.

He added that watching “The Passion of the Christ” is to witness “not a legend, but history,” in which “it is clear that Jesus freely chooses to goes to his death.”

Likewise Fr. Martinez said that “one of the greatest achievements of Gibson’s work” is the Eucharist aspect of the Lord’s Passion.

“In order to die with Christ his same death for love, his generous surrender to God and to neighbor, we need to see him die in the pictures of Holy Week and in the images of quality films,” he said.

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