Vatican watcher notes “The Passion of the Christ” has rekindled old Biblical debate

In his weekly online column, Sandro Magister, renowned Vatican watcher of the Italian weekly “L’Espresso,” says in an analysis of “The Passion of the Christ” that the Mel Gibson film has rekindled an old Biblical debate within the Church.

Magister, who has seen the film in advance of its April 7th release in Italy, says in his column that “The Passion” has raised a “Catholic issue” related to the accusations of anti-Semitism and which has to do with the “frontal attack on the historical accuracy of the Gospels.”

According to Magister, this attack stems not only from rationalism and from Jewish authors such as Leon Wieseltier, editor of the cultural section of the magazine “The New Republic,” but also “from the Catholic sphere itself.”

“Some arguments against Mel Gibson’s film are the symptoms of “a breakdown in the faith’s sense of realism,” says Magister, because “faith in the historical accuracy of the Gospel accounts has been seriously weakened.”

According to Magister, there is a concern at the Vatican about a resurgence of the heresy of Marcion, a Greek philosopher from the 2nd century who attempted to eliminate the entire Old Testament and various books and passages from the New Testament which, in his judgment, were expressions of a violent and evil God as opposed to the good and kind divinity found in Jesus—a tendency which is recycled in modern society in a “political correctness” more concerned about offending people than about proclaiming the truth.

The complete column can be found at:,2393,42087,00.html

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