Monday, January 19, 2004

Not So Fast, Mel

From the NY Times:

Vatican Raises Doubts About Pope’s View of ‘Passion’ Film

ROME, Jan. 19 — Pope John Paul II’s secretary emphatically denied news reports that the pope offered a personal endorsement of a movie by the director Mel Gibson about Christ’s life, according to an article distributed today by the Catholic News Service.

Cindy Wooden, a Vatican correspondent for the Catholic News Service, reported that the secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, told her in an interview on Sunday that while the pope had seen the movie, “the Holy Father told no one his opinion.”

Archbishop Dziwisz’s statement contradicts widespread reports over recent weeks that the pope, after watching the movie last month in his private apartment in Vatican City, reacted to its depiction of the last 12 hours in Christ’s life by saying, “It is as it was.”

Archbishop Dziwisz’s statement also represents the latest odd twist in the unusual story of attempts by Mr. Gibson and his associates to rally the support of conservative Christians for the movie, now titled “The Passion of the Christ,” which has drawn charges that it may be anti-Semitic.