Mel Gibson’s film about the Passion of Christ is a “gift from God” that will help make Lent and Easter more meaningful this year, said Archbishop John F. Donoghue in a letter he addressed to the faithful of Atlanta Feb. 10.

“I believe that all people should see this film. And as your bishop, I would urge all Catholics of the Archdiocese of Atlanta to see this film,” he wrote, adding that those who view it will inevitably be changed.

“It will not leave you the same person you were before — you will never again not be able to picture the scope of our Lord's suffering, and the terrible price He paid in order to save us,” he continued.

He called the Ash Wednesday release of The Passion of The Christ “a special event, which can help to make this Lent unlike any before, and perhaps, change us permanently, in the way we visualize and attempt to share in the great love our Lord has shown us.”

He also complemented Gibson on an “amazing cast” and “cinematography that elevates this film to a place among the greatest ever made.”

The archbishop told the faithful that, after a lengthy conversation with Gibson last summer, he is “completely convinced” that Gibson’s motive in making this film was religious, and that it represents the filmmaker’s “sincere faith and devotion.”

“In his depiction of the capture, the trial and the condemnation of Jesus Christ, no one bears the blame exclusively, neither the Jews, nor the Romans, nor the Herodians,” wrote the archbishop, referring to claims that the film is anti-Semitic.

The film clearly demonstrates that Jesus’ sufferings and death are the result of evil, sin, and “the weakness of men and women when overcome by the temptations of Satan,” said the archbishop.

The archbishop warned that due to the violent content of the movie, he does not recommend it for children under high school age, unless their parents see the film first and give their consent.

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