Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Films' Depictions of Christ Aren't Hurt by Irreverence

September 29, 2003

Re "Mel Gibson Commits a Sin of Omission," Commentary, Sept. 25: Thomas Doherty too readily dismisses as "offbeat and irreverent" three films that contribute profoundly to a more thorough, nuanced understanding of Jesus Christ and the nature of faith: "Jesus Christ Superstar," though "countercultural" in its day, is a resonant and biblically faithful adaptation of the Gospels. Monty Python's "The Life of Brian" is a film not about Christ but Christianity. Through farce, it explores the extent to which the enshrining of a belief can obscure the very message that inspired it. The film is a healthy meditation on the pitfalls of human nature, from which the development of no major faith has been truly spared. "The Last Temptation of Christ" is based upon Nikos Kazantzakis' 1955 novel, considered in Catholic academe a landmark of modern theological scholarship. The film ponders the human side of Christ -- his hopes, his struggles, his fears -- against which his final acceptance of death assumes a truly courageous and profound dimension. This is not irreverent filmmaking. It is a story of Christ's own spiritual journey, told with poignancy and power.

Other films may depict Christ more reverently. But it is often through music, comedy or fable that we find our most resonant perspectives and understandings.

David L. Bush

Los Angeles

*

Perhaps the outrage emanating out of Hollywood in reaction to Gibson's "The Passion" is due to the fact that a movie has been made on the life of Christ based on the Gospels rather than the anti-Christian demagoguery we in this country are so familiar with seeing. Consider films of recent years: "Priest," a Disney production about homosexual seminarians; "Dogma," another Disney classic rife with anti-Catholicism; and "The Magdalene Sisters," yet another anti-Catholic slander piece.

Taking into account the endemic hostility to Christianity that Hollywood professes in the movies and television shows it produces, it's no wonder this city's entertainment industry is up in arms.

Marcus Johanssen

Glendale

*

Doherty stated that Gibson "is a devout Catholic who ... rejects the reforms of Vatican II." If this is true, then Gibson cannot be termed a "devout Catholic," since Vatican II is the official, definitive teaching of the Catholic Church, including its clear declaration that "what happened in Christ's passion cannot be blamed upon all the Jews then living and certainly not upon the Jews of today ....the church deplores the hatred, persecution and displays of anti-Semitism directed against Jews at any time and from any source."

Charles E. Miller

Camarillo

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|