A journalist for the National Catholic Reporter in Rome said next month’s release of Mel Gibson’s film on the Passion of Christ will present an opportune “teaching moment”, and he hopes the U.S. Church is preparing itself to respond to the questions and reactions that it will spark.
In his weekly column “Word from Rome”, John Allen said the film will have a significant impact, especially on youth. Allen saw the film at a press screening at the Vatican Jan. 22.
“Viewers will want to talk about what they see; they will want to discuss what happens in the movie, why, and what to make of it,” he wrote.
“I hope youth groups and small faith communities and Bible study groups and Catholic schools are preparing ways for people to come together, and not just the usual suspects, but people who ordinarily have little contact with the Church but who will feel the need to talk.
“In terms of pastoral response, whether one likes Mel Gibson or approves of ‘The Passion’ really isn’t the point,” wrote the former Catholic high school teacher. “The controversy has all but guaranteed that people will see the film, and thus it represents a ‘teaching moment.’”