Vatican City, Jan 21, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Trying to put an end to the controversy sparked over whether or not John Paul II said “it is as it was” regarding Mel Gibson's film “Passion of the Christ,” the Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls issued a statement confirming the Pope's comments were not intended to become “official.”
“After consultation with the Holy Father's personal secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, I can confirm that the Pope has had the opportunity to see the film, ‘The Passion of the Christ’,” the statement says.
The press release describes positively the film as “the cinematographic recounting of the historical fact of the passion of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel accounts.”
The description is not irrelevant, since one of the bones of contention for some Biblical scholars -like Boston University's Paula Fredriksen- has been Gibson's accuracy in portraying the historical facts of the crucifixion.