MANILA, Philippines, MARCH 29, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Manila’s Archbishop Guadencio Rosales has urged Christians to see “The Passion of the Christ,” calling the film a “serious labor of love, painstakingly made, of genuine artistic and religious value.”
The archbishop, in a four-page pastoral message, encouraged the faithful to see the drama as a way of helping them “to remember and reflect on the passion of Our Lord” during this Lenten season, so that “penitence and Christian praxis may bear true and deeper fruit in our lives,” according to AsiaNews.
At the same time, Archbishop Rosales gave two cautions concerning the viewing of the Mel Gibson film.
First, “Children under high-school age should not watch this picture unless their parents are sure they are ready and will accompany them.” Scenes depicting the violent death of Jesus may be “too graphic for them to see” and “could do them harm,” the archbishop wrote.
Second, he restated the Church’s position regarding who was responsible for the death of Jesus Christ.
“We are not to blame all the Jewish people of Jesus’ own time for his death,” Archbishop Rosales said. From the perspective of faith, “all of us took part in the killing of Jesus. … It was all of us, throughout the ages, who were responsible for the slaying of Jesus,” he added.
Watching the film is an opportunity for a true “faith experience” and an authentic invitation to “conversion and renewal of heart and life,” said the archbishop. “When you see it, try to see it in a spirit of quiet, prayerful reflection.”
The film opens in the Philippines on Wednesday.