Church in Scotland Promoting "The Passion"

In Letter Sent to All 472 Parishes

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GLASGOW, Scotland, MARCH 16, 2004 ( The Catholic Church in Scotland is launching a nationwide promotion of the film «The Passion of the Christ.»

The Catholic Media Office will this week send a mailing to Scotland’s 472 Catholic parishes that includes a letter from Bishop Joseph Devine, president of the National Communications Commission, in which he describes the film as
«the most powerful I have ever seen.»

«It is undeniably a profoundly religious film, which I believe does not seek to attack or demonize any group,» the bishop adds. He concludes by urging Catholics to see the film.

The full text of the letter is shown below. The film opens on general release in 24 Scottish cinemas on March 26.

* * *

March 2004
Dear Rev. Father,

On 26 February, I travelled to London to attend the UK premiere of «The Passion of The Christ» in my capacity as President of the National Communications Commission.

I left feeling that the film is without question the most powerful I have ever seen. It represents a stunningly successful attempt at committing an extraordinary event to film.

Despite the controversy surrounding the production it is undeniably a profoundly religious film, which I believe does not seek to attack or demonise any group. The message at the heart of the film is that Christ’s suffering and death lead to the redemption of humanity.

As Christians, we believe that Christ suffered and died for us — though often it is a belief taken for granted and not examined in any detail. This film brings that suffering to life in vivid, brutal and sometimes unwatchable detail — in doing so it forces the viewer to confront that central truth of the Christian message.

I believe this is the most authentic depiction of the Passion ever committed to film and would urge all those who are able, to see it for themselves before reaching a judgement on it.

With this letter I enclose a flyer you may wish to display in the church porch and a listing of cinemas across Scotland, which will show the film when it goes on general release on 26 March. You may also wish to download supporting resources for use in group and parish discussions about the film.

Links to these resources can be found on the website of the Catholic Media Office,

I hope these materials will assist you in promoting a film described by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos as «more effective than all the sermons I’ll ever preach».

Yours sincerely

+ Joseph Devine
Bishop of Motherwell
President, National Communications Commission

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