By Fr. Wilson (articles ) | Jan 22, 2004

Word was that the Holy Father had seen the Mel Gibson movie on the Passion, was moved by it, and had said, "It is as it was." Then, an unnamed Vatican official denied that. But the story was repeated, so the Pope's personal secretary now denies it.

Yet apparently, the Gibson people had an email from Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the papal spokesman, confirming the quote. Which email N-V now disavows.

Peggy Noonan's not amused by this little tale of intrigue, the significance of which is far more than at first it seems -- having to do, as it does, with how information gets out of the Vatican and how trustworthy it really is. If the original story was true, then the Gibson people are really being hung out to dry, made to look as though they fabricated a papal quote to advance their movie. If that's what is going on, it's reprehensible, and jaundiced Vatican watchers will be saying with a sigh... "It is as it was."

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  • Posted by: - Jan. 27, 2004 5:28 PM ET USA

    And His Holiness' comments on the brake-dancers from Poland?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 22, 2004 8:56 PM ET USA

    smcalum03-and your point is??? Mel Gibsons fathers faith has never been linked specifically to Mel Gibson has it? On the contrary I think. Neithers faith has any bearing or relevance on the objective truth or reality to the content of this movie. Applying your logic, if my father beleived that adultery was acceptable then I would therefore possess the same moral beliefs? That's not contained in the genetic code. And if the Holy Father did say those 5 words, so what? It is the truth.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 22, 2004 4:04 PM ET USA

    Thanks to the rather delightful unfamiliarity of certain curial catechists with the modernist marvels of the internet, it appears that the exploding ink charges have gone off (I think that they're colored red aren't they?) all over someone's cassock. It was so much simpler in the olden days to pull this sort of stunt now wasn't it? New meaning to the phrase "Color me red".

  • Posted by: - Jan. 22, 2004 2:29 PM ET USA

    There is a whiff in the air--a scent of--what?--Brimstone?--no--more like men's Cologne, perhaps with a Rhenish hint. Walter Kaspar's written all over this. Consider: Very close friends of the Cdl, Abe Foxman and Gene Fisher, condemn Gibson's movie and him personally as anti-semitic. In fall of '03, Cdl. Hoyos sees some part of the movie and praises it, denying it is anti-semitic. There is a frantic trans-Atlantic phone call from Foxman to the Vatican and within 2 weeks Cdl. Kasper is quoted

  • Posted by: - Jan. 22, 2004 10:51 AM ET USA

    I don't mean to toot my own horn, nor to belittle the Vatican, nor to cause scandal, but I made a snarky post awhile back about Machiavelli being loose in the Vatican and saying "It is as it always was". I am happy to retract it, when the Vatican or Gibson can straighten this out. It does seem odd, though, that Satan's deception in the Garden of Eden regarding God's actual words and meanings are coming to a head about a depiction of the Passion; Satan's final defeat. Curious.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 22, 2004 8:53 AM ET USA

    I thought the Pope did comment on "Life is Beautiful." Or "didn't" he? Beyond that, this little intrigue can't be helping Gibson's personal faith, especially since there's some family history of thinking the Pope isn't the real Pope.