Saturday, February 28, 2004

Holy Hypocrisies!!

Go read this article from Time Magazine on the Passion of The Christ right now. This is good stuff- I can't believe someone actually admitted this in print. Thank you Richard Corliss.
I went to see The Passion of the Christ tonight but it was sold out. Both the 8 pm and the 10 pm. Oh well, I will see it another time-glad to see the movie is doing well.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

The Passion of The Christ

The reactions of people to the film are very telling. Most people come out of the theaters and praise the film, or the experience of seeing the Passion in a graphic (perhaps too graphic) way. But the anti-Christian bigotry comes out in full force with this movie! Thankfully the Catholic League has been keeping tabs. To read the letters to the editor and some of the columnists makes me realize just how bigoted people are when it comes to Christianity. A good example of this is Paul Vitello, a nasty bigot who writes for Newsday. He has bashed the Catholic Church for years and seems angry and upset that Mel Gibson is using film to portray the Passion. He watched the film and afterwards interviewed people for his column:

"People were saying interesting and heartfelt things, to be sure: One woman said the film reminded her that the Catholic Church was "not about priests, but about Jesus Christ," a reference to the pedophilia scandals. Another woman said Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" was "the most moving thing I've ever seen." Period.
But I stopped interviewing them because the controversy surrounding this movie is not about what people will say after seeing the movie."

So, after viewing this movie which many have said will cause people to become violent, he finds that people have positive and moving reactions instead. This causes him to........stop interviewing them. Because hey, if what you believe about Christians is not confirmed by the facts, then you must shift gears and come up with another excuse to hate them and the art they produce.

He continues:

"In Gibson's movie, the faces of the Jewish high priests are devious-looking, brutish and unambiguously murderous. Aside from two lesser figures in the Jewish crowd who protest, there is not one priest allowed to show a shadow of doubt, or humanity.... too many of them, from where I sat, bore facial features considered by anti-Semites as stereotypically "Jewish" - hook noses and other such features straight from the book of hate. What was that all about, Mel Gibson?"

Yeah Mel, how dare you find these actors with these features? Where the heck did you film this thing, Italy??

"Why - while we're asking questions - was the role of Satan given to a woman? She appears in key scenes throughout the film. She entices Jesus to renounce his destiny and save himself. Was Satan a woman at the time? I never knew this about her, though woman-bashing has always been part of the fabric of the church, especially in Mel's ultra-conservative branch."

Remember the saying "there are no stupid questions"? Well there are, and this has to be the stupidest of all questions ever asked.

"Does any religious Christian need to be told again what happens at the end of each of the four Gospels - and to be told it by a man who denounces the modern church and all the reconciling spirit it stands for?"

This bigot has bashed the Church for years and now he bashes someone who supposedly renounces it?? This is another positive aspect of this movie- it is bringing out all this bigotry in a way that puts the bigots on the defensive. Finally we can have a movie that we can support and the anti-Catholic bigots have to whine and complain. It will be interesting to see how these same people react the next time an anti-Catholic movie comes out. Especially if that movie is put out by one who "denounces the modern church and all the reconciling spirit it stands for".

All three major New York papers today had stories on The Passion of The Christ:

(anti-Catholic rag) Newsday

NY Post

Daily News

All three include pictures or blurbs about Kellenberg High School's pilgrimage to the movie. Students (who chose to do so) walked 3 miles from the school to the movie.

"They came in waves, hundreds at a time walking three miles in the winter chill, their foreheads daubed with ash as they crowded normally empty sidewalks on their way to see a movie.

The film was Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," which opened at theaters across the country yesterday, and the walkers were students at Kellenberg Memorial High School.

Altogether, about 1,500 students from the Catholic school in Uniondale made the trip in two batches, 700 for a morning showing at the Loews Roosevelt Raceway Theater and 800 for an afternoon screening there.

"Let this be a pilgrimage of faith with Jesus, and not just another movie," said Brother Ryan Sheehan, during a prayer earlier at the school's auditorium."

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ

Sometimes I wish I could blog from work. Waiting for my breakfast this morning I stood reading the NY Post's front page story of reactions to The Passion of the Christ. First, the "experts" "review" the movie. I read a lot of movie reviews and they always tell the story of the movie, how the acting is, how the story and dialogue is, the quality of the music and lighting, etc... The Passion reviews, are different, they sound more like historical and theological criticisms. This is just weird. They also focus on the violence, which I could understand because it does sound relentless.

Jonathan Foreman says the movie is a "product of a distinctly perverted sensibility", but "Nor do I believe it will provoke pogroms, if only because the film is probably too slow to work as rabble-rousing propaganda, whatever the intentions of its maker"---emphasis mine. He goes on to describe small details in the film that he claims are historically inaccurate.

Lou Lumenick gives a more positive review but also compares Gibson to Leni Riefenstahl who made positive films about Hitler.

The Post also had two pages of average people quoted after watching the film. These non-experts said:
"I'd give it 10 stars. It's one of the best movies I've ever seen in my life," said Maritza Castro, 32, who had tears streaming down her face as she left a preview screening for church groups at the Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem. "

"Yanira Gonzalez, 39, hugged her husband, Pete, outside the Magic Johnson Theater.
"It was very powerful. If you don't know Jesus, by the time you finish watching this movie, you definitely will," she said."

Guess whose opinions I trust?? And check out the photo of the young couple hugging each other after the viewing. Obviously this film is dangerous!

Then at lunch, I read the reviews in the Daily News and Newsday which were more of the same. I guess it was too much to hope that the bigotry would be put aside and the reviewers would give professional reports on the movie. Jami Bernard in the Daily News says:
"Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is the most virulently anti-Semitic movie made since the German propaganda films of World War II." but "once you strip away all the controversy and religious fervor - is a technically proficient account of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth."

See that? the damn thing has "religious fervor", no wonder it must be stopped!!

Of course the Catholic League is on the case and in a wonderful press release, points out the opinions of these same reviewers on past violent, bloody films.

So let me get this straight, the movie is no good because it does not stick to the Bible, is too violent, historically inaccurate, contains 'religious fervor' and is anti-semitic? Little to no mention of acting, lighting, music, plot, action, etc.. These reviews have made up my mind about a few things:

1) I am going to join the Catholic League
2) I am not only going to see the movie on Friday night but also pay for extra tickets just to help sales
3) I will never listen to any complaints of "anti-semitism" ever again
4) I am going to attend the traditional latin Mass on Sundays

#1 and # 4 were both in my head for awhile and these reviews just made me determined to do them. # 2 and # 3 only occurred to me after reading the reviews
Check out this page to see what one Catholic school is doing with Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Yesterday was a relatively nice day so I figured I would go to Huntington and stroll around the village with my girlfriend. Huntington is a village on the north shore that in some ways is like Greenwich Village: nice shops, artsy-fartsy stuff, nice bars and restaurants. My girlfriend had never been to Book Revue which is one of the few large, independent bookstores still doing well. I knew we would enjoy a leisurely few hours in the store browsing the shelves and having coffee at the bookstore cafe. Little did we know that we would get there just before Sean Hannity was to give a talk and booksigning! There were hundreds of people there and half the store was basically blocked off by the crowd. I had no desire to stay and hear the talk so we will have to go back some other time, first making sure there will no be celebrities there. Had I known he was going to be there I might have arranged the day differently and gone to see him. Sean Hannity is a Long Islander and has been rather successful. I appreciate the fact that he is publicly Catholic and has spoken favorably of his Catholic upbringing and education. Many bloggers commented favorably when Sean went on his Foxnews show with ashes on his forehead last Ash Wednesday.
Catholic Bloggers in Brooklyn

Pete Vere of Envoy Encore and Catholic Light invited locals to join him this past Friday night since he was in town for an Order of the Alhambra meeting. I made the trip to Brooklyn and joined Aristotle the Recovering Choir Director, Patrick the Extreme Catholic, St. Blog commentators Rosemarie (of Mystical Rose) and BenYachov and their 2 wonderful children. It was a very nice time, filled with talk of things Catholic, the blogosphere, etc.. Patrick gave out brochures for the Catholic Evidence Guild which was founded in London but recently renewed in New York by Fr. Benedict Groeschel. For a brief minute I was even able to wear Pete Vere's infamous fez. The night was enjoyable and I hope there will be more St. Blog meetups such as this.