Mel Gibson's real problem

By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 02, 2006

In a lead editorial today the Boston Globe fastens one particular phrase in Mel Gibson's apology for his anti-Semitic tirade. The actor says: "I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display..." And the Globe is ready with an answer. Bigotry, the paper tells us, is a product of old-fashioned Catholicism.

"Anti-Semitism comes easily to those who believe that their faith or political system is the final answer," the Globe informs us. "The very existence of Jews serves as an affront to claims of absoluteness." Huh? That facile statement might apply to totalitarian ideologies. It obviously doesn't apply to religious Jews who see their own faith as the final answer. Nor does it apply to Christians who recognize Jews as our spiritual elder brothers.

The Globe editorial explains how to understand its curious claim:

Gibson now asks for guidance from the Jewish community. One of its leaders, Rabbi Irving Greenberg, offers some in the The Jewish Way, his 1988 book on Jewish holidays and history. "Those Christians who believe there is salvation outside the church and that there is room for many mansions in God's house have no problems with Jews," he writes.

Perhaps. But those "Christians who believe there is salvation outside the church" do have a problem with Catholicism, since they reject a defined doctrine of the Church.

To review: If you're a Catholic you're under suspicion of being an anti-Semite. But you still might be OK if you declare independence of Church teaching. The Globe has found a new way to make its favorite argument: that the only good Catholic is a bad Catholic.

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  • Posted by: - Aug. 04, 2006 6:38 AM ET USA

    Booze can do terrible things to a life (lives) Sometimes, altering that life {lives} forever. I don't excuse his actions; however, he is one sick man, needing a lot of treatment. Let those without sin cast the first stone. The difference between Gibson and a lot of other Americans is that Gibson was apprehended by police. Relish your "Get Home Free" card.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2006 9:56 PM ET USA

    I think we all need to remember a lot more about our Catholic faith. you know , like, how to forgive and pray for our fallen brothers? Especially the ones who are in the business of attracting attention like Mr. Mel. After all we are Judeo Christians.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2006 8:22 PM ET USA

    Coco, in response to your piquant inquiry, yes I do consider myself a Catholic, one who's life has been riddled with sin. The point is, with all charity, is that deep and abiding faith is our safeguard against a perditious lifestyle. Scripture and the Tenents of the faith promise as much. But scripure and faith also warn us against hypocrisy. Forgivness always requires the addendum; "Go and sin no more," I believe is the criteria. No judgements, just an observation.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2006 5:30 PM ET USA

    “Mel's fall from grace in such a boozy-floozy fashion signifies either that his faith is weak or it’s a sham.” I wonder, could we not say the same thing, a thousand times over, about the bishops and priests who either participated in, sponsored, abetted or looked the other way as thousands of young people who were placed in their charge were abused and sodomized? That, my friends, is indicative of a “sham” faith. Mel is weak, but his other works indicate a genuine faith. Leave him alone.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2006 2:30 PM ET USA

    Coco, Florentine: Amen!

  • Posted by: jbrown629 - Aug. 03, 2006 2:17 PM ET USA

    I think it's fairly clear that objectively, what Gibson did regarding alcohol and subsequent reckless driving are grave matter, per the Catechism, both of scandal, endangering human life and deliberate and complete intoxication. Unless, that is, that his behavior was not really the result of complete intoxication (i.e., reason is no longer in control) but rather his normal behavior towards those he doesn't like. The comments about Jews were tame compared to his other remarks.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2006 1:09 PM ET USA

    Sticker, Mel's blood alcohol concentration was 0.12%. While that is too drunk to drive, it is by no means "drinking oneself into oblivion." He went out and had a good time. Gibson may have an alchohol problem, I don't know, but his BAC does not indicate he was extraordinarily drunk.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2006 12:15 PM ET USA

    Has anyone read Mel's entire apology--an apology without even the whiff of a condition attached, an apology that does not shrink from the ugly truth of the offence, an apology that takes total responsibility? This apology is a bright light in this dark world. It is a beautiful testament to Catholicism, and the state of fallen Man. Stickler1898, maybe your cross is not alchoholism, maybe your sins are not front page news, but I bet you, too, have fallen. And you consider yourself Catholic

  • Posted by: florentine - Aug. 03, 2006 11:39 AM ET USA

    Who would not have guessed that Mel's demons would be in high gear after The Passion? Afterall, he mocked powers, risked a fortune, and evangelized the world. Do you good Catholics not recognize the symptoms of spiritual warfare at work? One of the horrors of any addiction is that it makes one say and do things they would never do in normalcy. Animal instinct, in opposition to truth, takes over. Addiction is the devil's favorite tool. A brother in Christ and crisis needs our prayers. Oremus!

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2006 11:31 AM ET USA

    That should be "non Christians such as Vanessa Redgrave or Marlon Brando's anti-semitism. Ah but Mel Gibson is a believing Catholic. We all struggle with sin. It is the righteous who at least acknowledge this. As Mark Shea said, sin obscures who we are but Calvinism says that goodness is only a front and only a few are predestined. The MSM is feeding on this and many Catholics here are on the bandwagon. I guess its true in that what people love more then a hero is to see a hero fall

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2006 10:54 AM ET USA

    The stone throwing is unbelievable. Even Mark Shea, who has little love for traditional Catholicism concedes that as Christians we must accept Mr. Gibson's as sincere. The number of Catholic Calvinists here is surprising. Let he who has not sinned cast the 1st stone. Keep in mind the MSM is feeding off of this and is now reporting this as his 2nd offence of anti-semitism (the 1st was The Passion). They make no issue over non-Christians such as Vanessa Redgrave's and Marlon Brando's semitism.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2006 10:49 AM ET USA

    The heart of this matter to me is not that Mr. Gibson became foul, bigoted and dangerous while under the influence. The real question is, why a man who professess such deep faith and speaks so eloquently to these matters, drinks himself to oblivion. True faith dominates perditious inclinations. Mel's fall from grace in such a boozy-floozy fashion signifys either that his faith is weak or its a sham. There is a reason folks, why its called "ole debil booze."

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2006 9:14 AM ET USA

    to Sheryl re this: "Most of Gibson's critics have put their children and rejected spouses through a hell not unlike the holocaust with their lifestyle of marry/divorce/marry/divorce. I have not heard that Gibson has done those things." Generalize much? Name those critics of Gibson, dear, and state your numbers on "most". Then define "holocaust" as YOU see it (reduced standard of living?) compared to true torture and total annihilation. Then - think before you speak? Really.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2006 2:05 AM ET USA

    May I suggest a course in "State Dependent Learning" for all who are having difficulty cutting through the rhetoric of Mel's alcholic escapade. The reality of an active alcoholic has caused many a family member to go to alanon. The Boston Globe and all in denial of the reality of what is happening here need to take the "first step" of AA.

  • Posted by: Duns Scotus - Aug. 03, 2006 1:05 AM ET USA

    pinecone, Mel Gibson was baptized Catholic. I don't think any of us commenters are qualified, or in a position, to say he has incurred excommunication because of his schismatic associations. It's one thing to claim to be have been ordained a priest by the "Womanpriest" movement. That clearly constitutes both schism and heresy. Attending Mass (valid, though illicit) at "Traditionalist" churches, even contributing financially to them, is not as clear cut.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 02, 2006 11:42 PM ET USA

    What Mel should have done was shouted at the top of his lungs: "Those crazed, blind albino monks are behind it all" and then threatened to use all of his money to get Oppie and Andy Griffith. If he had taken a swipe at Barney Fife and his change into California swingin' episcopalian, Ralph Furley and then made reference to Mrs. Gibson, I think we might have had a money maker that Frank Rich could get behind, and Ron Howard could direct. Orange County Vice opened July 28th.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 02, 2006 11:26 PM ET USA

    Who among those criticizing Mel Gibson is qualified to throw the first stone? Who among the Hollywood-types, for example, has had children of one wife and kept that family together? Most of Gibson's critics have put their children and rejected spouses through a hell not unlike the holocaust with their lifestyle of marry/divorce/marry/divorce. I have not heard that Gibson has done those things. So if there are those without beams to be removed, I say let them judge Mel Gibson.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 02, 2006 8:15 PM ET USA

    Any guy that jumps out of his car at a DUI stop and starts yelling abut "the Jews" obviously has issues. But, it doesn't take much in the way of humanity or intelligence to realize that swatting at the boogey men and boogey voices who follow you everywhere to make you feel bad about yourself isn't real anti-Semitism and has nothing to do with Catholicism. OK, now about the people who wrote the editorial...

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Aug. 02, 2006 7:36 PM ET USA

    My editor E. Michael Jones raises questions about Jews who reject Torah and Christianity and become revolutionaries, in this age (a la Hollywood) and earlier ages (Bar Kochba, Marx et al). He, of course, is branded anti-Semitic at once, and not just by our elder brothers. We are all spiritual Semites, but we must be able to critique error wherever we find it. Gibson, unfortunately, was more influenced by Jim Beam than by the letter of James.

  • Posted by: Duns Scotus - Aug. 02, 2006 7:33 PM ET USA

    With respect, Diogenes, I think you should cut Rabbi Greenberg (and maybe even the Globe) a little slack on the Church's claim NULLA SALUS EXTRA ECCLESIUM, which, as the passage from the Catechism to which you link idicates, is rather nuanced. Given that the good Rabbi, one may assume, is well versed in neither Catholic soteriology nor ecclesiology, charity would call for us to understand what he says in way not necessarily inconsistent with Church teaching.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 02, 2006 7:32 PM ET USA

    Gibson's drunken denunciations are obviously indefensible, but the Globe's own pontifications make one wonder whether its editorial board was on a long binge. The reasoning is little more than cant, and, as Uncle Di explains in his unique way, illogical and bigoted in its own way.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 02, 2006 6:46 PM ET USA

    Of course, there's only one problem with the Globe's analysis, and also (unfortunately) with yours, Uncle Di -- Mel Gibson isn't Catholic.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 02, 2006 6:17 PM ET USA

    bigot: (from Webster's 9th New Collegiate): one obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own opinions or prejudices. Seems like the editors of the Boston Globe have a plank to remove.

  • Posted by: Stonewall - Aug. 02, 2006 5:50 PM ET USA

    All of us inherit prejudices from our families. I was raised to believe that WASPs were the only good people, but I finally out grew that little bit of bigotry. Now I know that all people are basically no good.

  • Posted by: SentimentalGent - Aug. 02, 2006 5:28 PM ET USA

    I find it interesting that in the Globe's comments that "Anti-Semitism comes easily to those who believe that their faith or political system is the final answer," the words "final answer" are used, especially since that was the Nazis' way of describing the plan to exterminate of Jews. Could it be that the Globe is comparing believing Catholics to Nazis? Nah!!!! I must be reading that wrong.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 02, 2006 3:11 PM ET USA

    Bigotry is really the product of old fashioned Liberalism. Well, maybe not all of it.