Spirit Daily


Major Movie On Crucifixion Comes At A Time Of Need But With Spiritual Attack (3 articles)

By Michael H. Brown

First story

Ten years ago, when I first met my wife, we wandered into a small chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael. We wanted to see what it was all about. The Mass was in Latin, and everyone was the epitome of "traditional," most evident in the women, who all wore something on their heads.


I enjoyed the Latin mystique and later met with the priest, who'd given a thunderous homily containing many words that I wish were spoken every Sunday at the other, more conventional churches. There was talk of the devil; there was strong, direct commentary on the evil of the times; there was great emphasis on the sacraments.

All that was good, but it was a church of maybe seventy people, and upon further investigation, it was out of line. The chapel was not obedient to the local bishop -- who in fact had banned it -- and thus was unaffiliated with Rome. The "bishop" for this church in Upstate New York lived a good distance away, in Connecticut. The pastor sent me books claiming that the Novus Ordo Mass (the one we have, the one the Pope celebrates every day) is not valid, and that all the popes since Vatican II have been "anti-popes." In fact, one book claimed that Paul VI had been an actual imposter -- a man disguised as the real Pope. We watched from a distance as the place fell apart and the pastor was later jailed when the congregants had him arrested for what they claimed was theft.

It was a shame, seeing this sort of dissension. I really appreciate the goodness and devotion of many traditionalists, but there is the issue of obedience, which the Bible tells us is greater than sacrifice. From what I understand, there are about 600 chapels in the U.S. with similar "traditionalist" leanings and perhaps 100,000 congregants. One of them is arguably the most famous actor in the U.S., Mel Gibson. In fact, Gibson, who first rose to fame as the star of Lethal Weapon and then Braveheart, is constructing a 9,300-square-foot mission-style church in the mountains near Malibu based precisely on this sort of traditionalism. He has sunken $2.8 million of his own money into it. It has about the same membership as the one I visited, and is likewise "unaffiliated" with the diocese.

This naturally concerns me. According to press reports, Gibson's father has penned a book that criticizes John Paul II (one of the greatest pontiffs of all time) and is entitled, Is the Pope Catholic? I find this  unfortunate in the extreme, and wish Mel's church were in line with official Catholicism. The websites for many "traditionalist" groups are full of vitriol toward Rome and what can only be described as wild conspiracy theories (one example: there was no Holocaust).

But let me hasten to add that, in all this coming out at this time, it seems the famous actor is encountering what is called "spiritual warfare." Let me be more straightforward: Gibson is being attacked by the devil. He is being attacked because he has firm Christian beliefs in a country that has strayed from them and in a place -- Hollywood -- where there are few firm beliefs in anything but the flesh, in anything but money, in anything but hedonism and celebrity and the New Age (blame Hollywood for projecting an awful image for America, one that is now coming back to haunt us). He is being attacked for trying to be good. And he is being attacked for directing a new movie called The Passion that portrays the Crucifixion of Jesus as it has never been portrayed, focusing on the last 12 hours of His life and all in the dialogue of ancient Aramaic and Latin. In short, Gibson is seeking to show us how truly awful, how great, was the suffering of Jesus.

As such, in a world like the one in which we now live, in a world that seeks to negate Christ, we find what Mel Gibson is doing nothing short of courageous, by all reckonings a great risk. His production company is picking up the $25-million cost. And everyone is asking how such a film -- with no English -- could succeed. Answers Gibson: "I didn't invent this story. I do happen to believe it. It's something that just gets inside of you and has to come out. I'm just trying to tell it well, better than it's ever been told before. There is no greater hero story than this one about the greatest love one can have, which is to lay down one's life for someone. The Passion is the biggest adventure story of all time. I think it's the biggest love-story of all time; God becoming man and men killing God if that's not action, nothing is."

Gibson understands Christ and he also comprehends demonic attack. He alluded to it in an interview with television show host Bill O'Reilly when he mentioned that such projects bring mysterious opposition. At the time, he was referring to an upcoming article in The New York Times that was to focus on his and his father's traditionalism (it ran last Sunday). He felt the Times was out to discredit him, and if such "attacks" occur it will be no surprise considering the power behind the film, which is inspired by the Bible and the writings of mystics such as Catherine Emmerich. The star, the actor playing Christ, is Jim Caviezel -- whose own conversion is traced in large part to Medjugorje. Miracles are said to be occurring on the set. There must be power in this film. There is always power with Jesus' Blood!

And so, naturally, there is resistance. My goodness: of course the devil is going to resist this. He is tremendously active right now. He is perverting everything. He has caused imbalance at every turn. He is fogging our thinking. And except for rare films, he dominates the world of entertainment. Did anyone note that just before that fire in  Rhode Island, in that nightclub, the heavy-metal fans were giving that signal with the pinkie and pointer finger -- knowingly or unknowingly, the sign of the devil? Did anyone not see something amuck in the stampede at another nightclub, this time in Chicago, less than a week before? Are we listening?

Evil begets evils. And it is rampant. Everywhere we look, the envelope is being pushed on profanity, nudity, blasphemy, occultism, and lewd behavior. Nothing shocks any longer. Our politicians appear on radio shows that are based on vulgarity while even the most "respectable" talk-show hosts use off-color language and do little more than collect millions for venting anger.

Is this is what we are about? Spreading lust? Spreading perversity? Hating each other?

And how can we explain a culture that produces superstars who mutate their own faces, who appear in videos with stark demonic images -- who transfigure into werewolves -- or who entice our youths into the most dangerously immoral conduct, dressing in dark leather? How can we justify the success of a show based on the everyday life of a man whose band was known as "Black Sabbath"?

This is not to judge them as individuals. I have no idea what led to what such folks are. I have to first look for the lumber in my own eyes. But at the least we can say that these poor souls have been deceived by evil. They believe that by making millions they are justified -- that material success indicates goodness, a blessing, that they can now say or do what they want as a seemingly helpless public shrugs it off or hides its collective head.

Which all stands in stark contrast to Mr. Gibson, who truly believes in God, who is willing to go on the line for Him, and who said the other day, "the struggle between good and evil, and the overwhelming power of love, go beyond race and culture. This film is about faith, hope, love and forgiveness. These are things that the world could use more of, particularly in these turbulent times." The film is about the only human Who ever resurrected. The film is about true heroism in a world desperately in need of heroes. How could there be a more opportune time? When have we ever been in more need of Christ's sanctifying Blood, right there on the big screen?

Do I wish Mel Gibson were in line with mainstream Catholicism? Of course. But bravo, braveheart. Welcome to the war. Go get them Mel! 




Producer Of Gibson Movie Says Script Arrived On September 11

Second story

From The Spiritdaily Mailbag
Regnum Christi and the Legionaries of Christ just had their "Youth and Family Encounter" event here at Navy Pier in Chicago this past weekend with the movie The Passion as a main attraction.  The producer of The Passion, Steve McEveety (also produced Man Without a Face, Braveheart, We Were Soldiers) came on Thursday, the first evening, and spoke about the movie.  I went to hear him and see the clips of The Passion.  It was certainly not disappointing and I thought you might like to hear of some of what was said as you continue to mention this movie in your writings.

It would appear that he himself is a practicing Catholic. He shared that many people who were "on the fence" Catholics before making the movie have now returned to the Church as a result of working on it.  Steve said that the hardest part of this is yet to come.  So Kitty Cleveland offered that everyone at the conference would pray one rosary to help at a "grassroots" level and Steve mimicked "only one?" so she revised that and said everyone could pray "five rosaries" to help with the difficulties that lie ahead.  

Steve shared that the Legionaries of Christ have been a tremendous help to him and Mel with the movie.  He said that they would arrive in twos everyday at the set in Italy and have been a tremendous help with the press amongst other things.  He is relying on their help as they go forward with the movie.

Mel Gibson made a surprise visit to the conference on Friday and delighted everyone I'm sure.  I was not there but was told that he also said the hardest part is yet ahead and that supposedly when he was asked what people could do, again at a "grassroots" level, he pulled the rosary out of his pocket and held it up.

But there was one other item that I thought you might find interesting and is really the reason I was moved to write to you.  On Thursday evening Steve McEveety shared that the first draft of the script was finished (arrived in his hands) on September 11, 2001, and the final draft was completed (arrived in his hands) on September 11, 2002. I'm not positive of the exact language he used but this is the essence of it, and I'm sure Regnum Christi or the Legionaries could confirm it.  This was one of the few facts he shared, and it is especially interesting.

To see a glimpse of what Our Lord is doing is really encouraging.  And it appeared as though He sent his troops in to help with this movie and is summoning up more support to accomplish His work.

May God be praised!

Our Lady bless you, Michael, and your work.

Mary Ann Gergits
Orland Park, IL


Major Actor Claims Harassment Over Making Of Movie On Passion Of Christ

By Michael H. Brown

Third article

In an interview aired over Fox News, actor Mel Gibson said Tuesday he is the subject of harassment and "attack" for making what many expect to be a highly realistic movie about the suffering of Christ on the Cross. Appearing on the network's "O'Reilly Factor," Gibson asserted that a reporter from a "reputable" publication was sent to "dig up dirt" on him. "Whenever you take up a subject like this it does bring out a lot of enemies," said Gibson, who related how the unnamed journalist has been scouring his private life, scrutinizing his banking records, friends, business associates and family members -- even charities he supports. 

The movie, called The Passion, is using actual Aramaic dialogue and stars Jim Caviezel, who, as we reported earlier this week, underwent a conversion after visiting with a seer from the famed apparition site of Medjugorje. Both Caviezel and Gibson are devout Catholics. The film focuses on the last 12 hours of Jesus's life, and specifically on the Crucifixion. 

Asked if he believed there was a direct correlation between this investigation and his work on the movie, Gibson said that was his view. "I'm a big boy and I can take care of myself," he said, "but when you start messing around with my 85-year-old father, watch out."

At the same time, Gibson said he has already forgiven the reporter who has been harassing him and his family. "This is a movie about love, faith, hope and forgiveness," Gibson said. "He died for all mankind. He suffered for all of us. It's time to get back to that basic message. The world has gone nuts. We could all use a little more love, faith, hope and forgiveness."

Expect this to be one of the most powerful and controversial films of the year when it comes out -- controversial in the negativity the press will try to conjure. Caviezel -- who is 33 -- has been trussed for hours at a stretch to a cross on a cold windswept hill in Italy during the movie's shooting. He has described how he experienced a profound change in his life after praying the Rosary with Medjugorje seer Ivan Dragicevic. "We talked, and later when we were praying the Rosary Ivan said Mary came in the room and I felt something wonderful happening to me," Caviezel told a Catholic radio broadcaster. "When the apparition was over, I got up and told Ivan I wanted them (Mary and Jesus) in my heart." 

Gibson is known to attend Latin Mass and has raised eyebrows with his film peers in Hollywood because of his devotion. Much of the script for the movie is based on the diaries of St. Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824). Gibson has consulted the Vatican on the direction of the movie and has vowed to shoot it as close as possible to what occurred 2,000 years ago -- showing the true extent of Christ's suffering. 

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