VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II met Monday with Jim Caviezel, star of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” the Vatican said.
Caviezel, who plays Jesus in the film, had a brief conversation with the pontiff, who then blessed the devoutly Roman Catholic actor, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Ciro Benedettini said. He had no further information on their discussion.
The ANSA news agency said Caviezel arrived in Rome Saturday, and attended a private screening of his film at the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative Catholic group. Caviezel’s wife also attended the meeting with the pope, the news agency said.
Gibson’s dramatization of Christ’s final hours earned $264 million in the United States and Canada after 19 days in theaters, according to studio estimates released Sunday.
However, the film has come under criticism by some Jews who say the movie will fuel anti-Semitism through an unfair portrayal of Jews as the main force behind the death of Jesus. Several Vatican prelates have endorsed the film, insisting it is not anti-Semitic.