February 29, 2004

Stirring Up Religious Hate

I'm absolutely taken aback by the naked religious hate imbued in this article on Gibson's Passion. It has a clear tone of regret that Protestants are no longer iconoclasts, smashing Catholic Cathedrals and whitewashing their murals. Why only a century ago, upright protestant elites were sneering and looking down at those blood drenched papists with their florid counter-reformation art.

What's wrong with you people? Why don't you hate each other anymore? Don't you see that Gibson's artistic style is too lush and fancy for Protestants to do anything but hate and smash? You're wimps for not taking up the hate of your forefathers!

And sad.

Mel Gibson, notoriously, belongs to a stripe of Catholicism that is extraordinarily conservative and traditionalist. Whether he thinks this Pope is legitimate or that Peter's seat is empty is not, to my understanding, definitively settled.

Such Catholics are generally most up in arms about Vatican II's initiatives in ecumenism. One of the most unremarked ironies of the entire event that is The Passion of The Christ is that he is, in his most conservative and traditionalist way, making more headway in Catholic/Protestant understanding than entire commissions of theologians and interfaith committees that have grappled with the subject since the heady days of Vatican II. Whether this progress would have happened absent those committees and commissions is a long and complex exercise speculating in alternative histories but the progress that Gibson is forging is remarkable and notable.

We might just be getting past our hates without giving up our faith. No doubt, Christ would smile.

Posted by TMLutas at February 29, 2004 04:35 PM