The Passion of Mel Gibson

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NICK CORNISH FOR TIME

Director Mel Gibson on the set of "Passion" with actor Jim Caviezel as Jesus

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Gibson is a more truculent Catholic. He scorns the Second Vatican Council, which in the 1960s replaced the Latin Mass with the liturgy in the language of the people and lots of perky folk songs. To Gibson, Vatican II "corrupted the institution of the church. Look at the main fruits: dwindling numbers and pedophilia." He might also have noted that Catholicism flourished in those countries where it became a church of liberation — where priests welded traditional doctrine to radical social reform.

It's dodgy to argue theology with an actor-director who seemingly sees a fusion of the movie characters he has played and Christ: feisty, persecuted, able to take whatever punishment the bad guys can dish out. Gibson is determined to walk his own lonely path. But it hardly seems unreasonable that there can be a contemporary film about a Christian hero when there are so many about, say, serial killers. So Gibson pursues his passion to make The Passion.

Got a problem with that? Take it up with your new spiritual counselor: Mad Max.

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