Argentine Bishops Passionate About Gibson's Film

Testimonies Broadcast on TV

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BUENOS AIRES, MARCH 21, 2004 ( Mel Gibson’s film «The Passion of the Christ» has won acclaim among several Argentine bishops.

Testimonies of five bishops were broadcast Saturday along with clips of the film by the television program «Keys for a Better World.»

«I loved the film,» Archbishop Rubén di Monte of Mercedes-Lujan said during the program. «It is fantastically made; it reflects the things on which one has meditated so many times on the passion of Jesus and responds to what the sacred Scriptures tell us.»

He added: «I hope it will do much, much good and that we will not be ensnared by sterile discussions over who it attacks or does not attack, who it justifies or does not justify, but that we will take advantage of it spiritually because this should be the objective of those who go see this notable film.»

Archbishop Mario Maulión of Parana said, «I was impressed not so much by the painful part, which is really very intense, but the transmission of a message of hope in the Lord, hope of life and a message of fidelity to man and fidelity to the Father.»

«I confess that it made an impression on me and moved me profoundly,» added Archbishop Maulión, who is president of the bishops’ Commission for Social Communication. «What is more, I would say that it shook me spiritually and not only me. After seeing it, together with other brother bishops, we agreed that it shook us.»

Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Mario Serra of Buenos Aires, who for many years was president of the episcopal Commission of Ecumenism and Relations with Jews, said: «I have seen many films on Christ, but I have never seen one that is so intense.»

«It cannot be said that this film is an anti-Semitic event,» he said. «The Gospel is read from the perspective of faith and from this perspective one sees that Christ is not a question of Romans, or Jews, or of a people, but is our question. That is the mystery of the death of Christ on the cross.»

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