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Vatican source confirms Pope’s positive reaction to Gibson film

.- A Vatican source confirmed yesterday that Pope John Paul II saw Mel Gibson's film, “The Passion of Christ”, and was moved by it, reported Reuters.

The source also confirmed that, after viewing the film about the last 12 hours of the life of Christ, the pope said: "It is as it was," indicating that he considered it an authentic portrayal of the Gospel accounts of Christ’s Passion.

Earlier this year, some scholars and Jewish groups criticized an earlier version of the film, saying it would increase anti-Semitism because it portrays Jews in a negative light.

However, the news service reported that Abraham H. Foxman, U.S. director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the group would respect the Pope's views.

"The pope has a record and history of sensitivity to the Jewish community and has a clear moral voice and understanding when it comes to anti-Semitism," Foxman told  Reuters.

In addition, many Vatican officials, who have seen the current cut of the film, have rejected charges of anti-Semitism. Fr. Augustine Di Noia, a senior official in the Vatican's doctrinal department, told Reuters: "I loved it and it is not anti-Semitic."

Vatican’s “Sala Stampa” celebrates 50 years

VATICAN – The Press Office of the Holy See is celebrating its 50 anniversary, and a special Christmas Mass will be celebrated in the Basilica of San Lorenzo for journalists.

The famous “Sala Stampa” was created by Pope Pious XII in 1953 to offer assistance to journalists who come from all over the world to cover the activities of the Holy Father and the events of the Holy See.

A round-table discussion will be held to mark the anniversary with the Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Joaquin Navarro-Valls and other distinguished journalists.

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