ADL Reacts To Reports the Pope Has Screened Mel Gibson's Film 'The Passion'
New York, NY, December 17, 2003 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today reacted to media reports that Pope John Paul II recently previewed Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion of Christ" and indicated through an intermediary his approval of its account of the events leading up to the Crucifixion of Jesus.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
If in fact Pope John Paul II has screened Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ" and if in fact his reaction to the film was positive, as has been reported, then we respect his statement. The Pope has a record and history of sensitivity to the Jewish community and has a clear moral voice and understanding when it comes to anti-Semitism.
However, we must reserve final judgment on "The Passion of Christ" until we have an opportunity to see the film. We hope that Mel Gibson has heard our concerns and those of Christian and Jewish scholars and religious leaders, who expressed unease about the earlier version of the film and its potential to fuel, rationalize and legitimize anti-Semitism.
If Mel Gibson has changed the film, which he has referred to all along as a "work-in-progress," then we would welcome that. We would like the opportunity to screen the final version for ourselves to see if the scenes of concern have been changed, and if so, publicly congratulate him.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.