Skip to content

Theologian Bruno Forte on 'The Passion'

If It Were Anti-Semitic, It Would Also Be Anti-Petrine, He Says

ROME, APRIL 12, 2004 (Zenit) - The theologian who directed this year's Lenten retreat for the Pope says the accusation of anti-Semitism against "The Passion of the Christ" is unfounded.

"One must not exaggerate in trying to make this film a testimony of faith, although undoubtedly it makes one appreciate the depth of the Gospels, and confirms that Christ loved us to the point of death," said Monsignor Bruno Forte in statements on Vatican Radio last week.

Monsignor Forte is a member of the International Theological Commission and a professor at the School of Theology of Southern Italy.

The theologian noted the criticism of excessive violence that some have made against Mel Gibson's movie. But he insisted that the film's focus on the suffering of Christ in his passion "is not historically unfounded."

"If we think of the 'flagellatio' (flagellation), we must remember that it was an atrocious punishment, as the flesh was torn from the condemned person," Monsignor Forte said. "I think that behind this there is the option to explain what Angela of Foligno said: 'Christ was not joking in his love for us.'"

"It is an aspect that is sometimes missed in certain, more-sweetened representations of the Gospels," he added.

"And this love for the flesh of the Son of God, which, as Tertullian said, 'is the foundation of our salvation,' can be the positive inspiration of Gibson's decision, although the result at the level of image might be considered by some as excessive, as too much blood is seen," the theologian said.

Monsignor Forte disagreed with criticism that said the film could foment anti-Semitism. "This is something that is absolutely unfounded," he said.

"In fact, the film emphasizes the responsibility of the Jewish leaders of the time in this politico-judicial conspiracy," he observed.

"But at the same time, it shows Pilate's ambiguity, the responsibilities of the Romans, one might even say the 'misery' of Peter," the theologian added. "Therefore, if it were anti-Semitic, one would also have to say that it is anti-Roman and, paradoxically, that it is 'anti-Petrine,'" or against the papacy, since Peter was the first Pope.

The theologian noted that the movie is certainly the product of "a director who says openly that he wishes to give witness to his faith, and this is certainly a considerable fact. But we must be cautious before saying that the film is just a simple testimony of faith."

"Having said this, we are faced with a product that has led many people in the world to think again about the passion of Christ," Monsignor Forte said. "I would see in this an analogy with the medieval sacred plays."

"I think that in this connection, the passion of Christ can also make us feel, especially with the testimony of forgiveness that Jesus offers his persecutors and of his love until the end, an extraordinary force of redemption and hope," he said.

Monsignor Forte added that the film "has led me to appreciate even more the narrative sobriety and depth of the Gospels. Above all, it makes one feel that Christ is the one who has really loved us to the end; that in this love of his to the end he has revealed himself as the Son of God who came to save us."


Catholic Online CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Passion, Mel Gibson, Movie, Review

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.