Jim Caviezel: John Paul II is a mystic

Speaking to reporters in Rome, Jim Caviezel, who plays Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ," revealed a few details about his audience with Pope John Paul II, whom he said "is a mystic."

Caviezel said that during the brief meeting he thanked the Pope for his witness and for the profound inspiration the Pope has been for his life.  He also thanked to Pope for his Letter to Artists, which he said, has helped him as an actor and a Catholic.

Caviezel said he didn't recall how much time he spent with the Pope because he was not paying attention to the clock but instead focusing on listening to the Pontiff.

"John Paul II is very special man for a very special world.  He is the Pope of Fatima," Caviezel said, adding, "The Pope is a mystic.  He loves Christ."

Referring to the movie "The Passion of the Christ," Caviezel questioned reporters about the film: "Is it Protestant? Is it Muslim? Is it Catholic?  What do you see? It is very Catholic, very universal.  It is a great way to introduce people to what 'Catholic' means: It's universal, for all people and all times."  

Caviezel said filming the movie was an "authentic spiritual experience" and he agreed with those who say that one cannot see the movie and remain indifferent.

He insisted that in portraying Christ, he wanted people not to see him but to see Jesus, and that's why he began his day with the prayer of the Rosary.

"The Rosary brought me to confession, confession brought me to daily Communion, and when I carried the Eucharist in my body, I felt I was more like Christ," he said.

Regarding the accusations of anti-Semitism, Caviezel said that as a believer, "I am a semite.  It's my lineage.  I come from the house of David and of Abraham."  In addition, he agreed with those who say that if the movie is anti-Semitic, so is the Bible.

The Pope met with Caviezel, his wife and his parents-in-law yesterday at the Vatican, and during the private audience he blessed the actor who stars in "The Passion of the Christ."

Fr. Ciro Benedettini confirmed that the Holy Father had a brief conversation with the actor and extended his blessing to the entire family.

According to the ANSA news agency, Caviezel was in Rome on Saturday for a private screening of the film organized by the Legionaries of Christ. 

The movie premiers April 7 in Italy.

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