I recommend The Passion of the Christ to the people whenever someone asks my opinion, because it showcases the suffering of Christ. This most obvious & most neglected evidence for Christ’s divinity seems to be best understood by Catholic: The divine requirement for suffering – briefly, but excruciatingly – complete injustice. The passion of Christ justifies authority, laws, & punishment.
The somber teaching of Christ contradicts & shames the atheistic joyless quest for joy. Mel Gibson knows this. He suggests that all passion is suffering. But it is said among us that being passionate is good: the path to originality & authenticity. Passion excuses transgressing all conventions & all the laws known to man.
Judging by the reaction of viewers coming out of the theatres in America, by the movie’s unusual popularity, & by the recommendations of those who had then seen it, which often come with a confession that they have not been able to watch it a second time, it seems like this movie showed Americans something about their soul which they had forgotten.
The movie has faced accusations of anti-Semitism: The accusers would have to prove the Bible is anti-Semitic. Perhaps the Jewish teaching about God is no longer politically correct. Also, accusations regarding the violence of Christ’s suffering. Is confronting the weakness of man & therefore the need for divine aid also politically incorrect? If death is not the ultimate injustice, then resurrection is no big deal. Then atheism may be as useful for political life as Christianity, & more pleasant… The suffering is horrible. How else to show harsh necessity, fear of violent death, & our need for God?
The story of the crucifixion is enacted by people who behave in a strange manner & speak in strange, dead languages. Even the colors we see are far removed from our common experience. We are so far removed from the world in which Christ lived that it is impossible to understand his life & suffering without considering first our most serious differences. They set the stage for confronting the fundamental question of divine justice. It may be a requirement of art to face this difficulty, as also to support faith & even piety.
The author recedes from view, piously, & urges us to follow the story of Christ instead. What is more needful than to follow this suggestion & look with utmost clarity at the foundation of the Christian faith? This is art precisely because it does not pretend to be art. It deceives us by showing us images of men & God, which we are persuaded to think are real, but it shows us in this way that in our souls we already were searching for God.
The film everyone should see