Reuters, Mar. 6, 2003
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – After waging war against what they see as radical changes made by the Vatican, Catholic traditionalists have a new weapon: star power in the person of actor Mel Gibson, according to an article to be published on Sunday in the New York Times Magazine.
Gibson, a follower of traditional Catholicism with its Latin mass and rejection of Vatican II reforms, helped finance construction of a new traditionalist church near Malibu and is completing a self-financed film in two dead languages — Aramaic and Latin — on the last 12 hours in the life of Christ, the article said.
A friend of the Gibson family is quoted as telling the article’s author, freelance writer Christopher Noxon, that Gibson will graphically portray the intense suffering of Christ, “perhaps as no film has done before.” Gibson is directing the film.
The friend, Gary Giuffre, a traditionalist Catholic, also said that the film will lay the blame for the death of Christ where it belong — a reference that some traditionalists believe means the Jewish authorities who presided over his trial, the article said.
A spokesman for Gibson had no comment, saying he had not seen the article. Sources close to the actor said Gibson’s religious views and those of his family were known.
In January, Gibson told television host Bill O’Reilly that Noxon was doing a “hit piece” on him and digging into his private life and harassing his father, Hutton Gibson, an opponent of the Vatican for 30 years and author of such books as “Is the Pope Catholic?”
In an interview with Noxon, the elder Gibson is quoted as saying that Vatican II was “a Masonic plot backed by the Jews.” Sources who know the actor say that he and his father have many differences of opinion.
In his interview with O’Reilly, Gibson was asked whether his account might particularly upset Jews. He said, “It may. It’s not meant to. I think it’s meant to just tell the truth.”