The leader of the Ukrainian Catholics in America has panned Mel Gibson's "The Passion" as a shallow, violent work that could incite hostility toward Jews.
Archbishop Stefan Soroka of the Ukrainian Archdiocese of Philadelphia said he would not recommend it to friends, true believers or children.
The controversy over Mel Gibson's upcoming film about the death of Jesus has spurred painful exchanges between Jews and Christians and progressive and traditional Catholics in recent days. To date, the debates have centered on the "proper" interpretation of the role of Jews in Jesus' Crucifixion, as presented in the four New Testament Gospels.
But this week, Gibson's $25 million biblical epic, which the director insists is about love and forgiveness, has triggered a new squabble: among Jewish scholars.
Mel Gibson's mouth has turned into a lethal weapon.
So suggests Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, following a series of published and oral comments made by the award-winning Hollywood actor and director concerning his controversial upcoming movie about the death of Jesus of Nazareth.
"Recent statements by Mel Gibson paint the portrait of an anti-Semite," Foxman told The Jewish Week Tuesday.
Twentieth Century Fox will not distribute the controversial film "The Passion," Mel Gibson's take on the death of Jesus. The announcement by Fox, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, came as a small group led by Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind protested at Fox News Corp. headquarters in Manhattan on Aug. 28. Some interfaith scholars have warned that "The Passion" could fuel anti-Semitism because of its portrayal of Jews as being behind Jesus' crucifixion.
Islamic anti-Semitism is increasing. Roman Catholic leaders are eerily silent about Mel Gibson's filmed Passion play and its negative portrayal of Jews. Southern Baptists are reaffirming their call to convert Jews.
Stepping into this current state of interfaith affairs comes David Elcott, who this week assumes the post of U.S. director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee.
But Elcott, a 54-year-old California native who has spent most of his career in Jewish communal work, says he's excited to assume the post, which has been vacant for a year.
Mel Gibson and his Icon Productions for weeks have been requiring viewers of his controversial film "The Passion" to sign a confidentiality agreement barring them from talking about the still-unfinished product.
That hasn't stopped the select group (mostly supportive Evangelicals, conservative Catholics and media personalities) from praising the film about the suffering and death of Jesus and revealing details in newspapers and on radio, television and the Internet.
Fallout continues this week over Mel Gibson's upcoming film "The Passion," about the violent death of Jesus, following a blistering review by the Anti-Defamation League and other viewers after a screening in Houston.
New developments include:
Two thumbs down. That was the consensus of a group of horrified Jewish interfaith and community leaders after watching a rough cut of Mel Gibson's controversial "The Passion."
It was the first mainstream Jewish group to screen the Hollywood star's gory recounting of the trial and death of Jesus.
Is Mel Gibson a cynical manipulator or an insensitive true believer? Those are two theories being floated in trying to explain the increasing controversy over Gibson's upcoming film, "The Passion," his bloody retelling of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.
Some leading interfaith experts say the film, which the 47-year-old Gibson co-wrote and is due out in February, violates Catholic teachings and will foment anti-Semitism worldwide.
Score one for Mel Gibson.
The Catholic Church's official voice in America has washed its hands of a report by some of its own scholars that warns that Gibson's film about the death of Jesus invokes anti-Semitic images and flouts Catholic doctrine.
The unexpected response by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops comes after Gibson threatened to sue the group over an allegedly "stolen" script given to interfaith scholars, who concluded the movie will foment anti-Semitism.