The Passion: Mel Gibson in His Own Words

ADL, February 9, 2004

Mel Gibson on the Second Vatican Council and Christian beliefs
«I probably sound like some egotist, you know, saying that the Roman Church is wrong, but I believe it is at the moment, since Vatican II.»
Larry King Live, December 19, 1990

«For 1,950 years [the church] does one thing and then in the 60s, all of a sudden they turn everything inside out and begin to do strange things that go against the rules … Everything that had been heresy is no longer heresy, according to the [new] rules. We [Catholics] are being cheated … The church has stopped being critical. It has relaxed. I don’t believe them, and I have no intention of following their trends … It’s the church that has abandoned me, not me who has abandoned it.»
El Pais (cited by Outlines News Service), February 1992


Gibson: [My father] writes books about canon law and Catholicism.
Playboy: Have you read them?
Gibson: Yeah. He is pretty sound canonically and theologically. He’s a bookish guy. Uses words I’ve never heard of.
Playboy: What does he have to do with the Alliance for Catholic Tradition, which one magazine called «an extreme conservative Catholic splinter group»?
Gibson: He started it. Some people say it’s extreme, but it emphasizes what the institution was and where it’s going. Everything he was taught to believe was taken from him in the Sixties with this renewal Vatican Council. The whole institution became unrecognizable to him, so he writes about it.
Playboy, (July, 1995).


«[Vatican II] corrupted the institution of the church. Look at the main fruits: dwindling numbers and pedophilia.»
Time, January 27, 2003


«The Gospels don’t contradict one another. They mesh. There’s a couple of places where, yeah, that’s not quite the same scene. But they just complete parts of the story that the other guy didn’t complete. That’s all. They do not contradict one another. If you read all four of those, they mesh. Because if they didn’t, you wouldn’t have so many people hooked into this…
«[Scholars] always dick around with [the Gospels], you know? Judas is always some kind of friend of some freedom fighter named Barabbas, you know what I mean? It’s horseshit. It’s revisionist bullshit. And that’s what these academics are into. They gave me notes on a stolen script. I couldn’t believe it. It was like they were more or less saying I have no right to interpret the Gospels myself, because I don’t have a bunch of letters after my name. But they are for children, these Gospels. They’re for children, they’re for old people, they’re for everybody in between. They’re not necessarily for academics. Just get an academic on board if you want to pervert something!»
The New Yorker, September 15, 2003

«There is no salvation for those outside the Church…I believe it.»
The New Yorker, September 15, 2003


Q: Why do you think contemporary theologians are disturbed and upset by your vision?
Gibson: You mean the three contemporary theologians who are upset and disturbed by my vision? Because — God save and help us to remove us from the clutches of such theologians! They have a lot of letters after their name, and I think that they would like to convince the rest of us that we have to have as many letters in order to interpret the Gospels or even to read them and get anything from them.
EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), January 24, 2004


«My dad taught me my faith, and I believe what he taught me. The man never lied to me in his life.»
New York Post, January 30, 2004


Gibson on the Holocaust
«Why are they calling her a Nazi? …Because modern secular Judaism wants to blame the Holocaust on the Catholic Church. And it’s a lie. And it’s revisionism. And they’ve been working on that one for a while.»
On criticism of Anne Catherine Emmerich,
a nineteenth-century nun whose writings influenced his
portrayal of Jesus’ death. The New Yorker, September 15, 2003


«That’s bullshit…I don’t want to be dissing my father. He never denied the Holocaust; he just said there were fewer than six million. I don’t want them having me dissing my father. I mean, he’s my father.»
On allegations that his father is a Holocaust denier. The New Yorker, September 15, 2003


Q: You’re going to have to go on record. The Holocaust happened, right?
Gibson: I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union.
New York Post, January 30, 2004


Gibson on Jews and The Passion of the Christ
«To be certain, neither I nor my film is anti-Semitic…’The Passion’ is a movie meant to inspire, not offend…My intention in bringing it to the screen is to create a lasting work of art and engender serious thought among audiences of diverse faith backgrounds (or none) who have varying familiarity with this story.
«If the intense scrutiny during my 25 years in public life revealed I had ever persecuted or discriminated against anyone based on race or creed, I would be all too willing to make amends. But there is no such record.
«Nor do I hate anybody — certainly not the Jews…They are my friends and associates, both in my work and social life. Thankfully, treasured friendships forged over decades are not easily shaken by nasty innuendo.
«Anti-Semitism is not only contrary to my personal beliefs, it is also contrary to the core message of my movie…For those concerned about the content of this film, know that it conforms to the narratives of Christ’s passion and death found in the four Gospels of the New Testament…This is a movie about faith, hope, love and forgiveness — something sorely needed in these turbulent times.»
Daily Variety, June 12, 2003
«I’m not a preacher, and I’m not a pastor…But I really feel my career was leading me to make [The Passion of the Christ]. The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize.», June 27, 2003


«I wanted it in…My brother said I was wimping out if I didn’t include it. It happened; it was said. But, man, if I included that in there, they’d be coming after me at my house, they’d come kill me.»
On his removal of a scene showing a Jewish mob
proclaiming «His blood be on us and on our children.»
The New Yorker, September 15, 2003


«I didn’t realize [opposition to The Passion of the Christ] would be so vicious…The acts against this film started early. As soon as I announced I was doing it, it was ‘This is a dangerous thing.’ There is vehement anti-Christian sentiment out there, and they don’t want it. It’s vicious. I mean, I think we’re just a little part of it, we’re just the meat in the sandwich here. There’s huge things out there, and they’re belting it out — we don’t see this stuff. Imagine: There’s a huge war raging, and it’s over us! This is the weird thing. For some reason, we’re important in this thing. I don’t understand it. We’re a bunch of dickheads and idiots and failures and creeps. But we’re called to the divine, we’re called to be better than our nature would have us be. And those big realms that are warring and battling are going to manifest themselves very clearly, seemingly without reason, here — a realm that we can see. And you stick your head up and you get knocked.»
The New Yorker, September 15, 2003


«I want to kill him…I want his intestines on a stick. . . . I want to kill his dog.»
On New York Times reporter Frank Rich, who wrote an
early article about The Passion of the Christ.
The New Yorker, September 15, 2003


«You’ve just got to have [subtitles]… I mean, I didn’t think so, but so many people say things to me like ‘Why aren’t there more sympathetic Jews in the crowd?’ Well, they’re there! But you’ve got to really point it out to them, and subtitles can do that.»
On why he added subtitles in The Passion of the Christ after initially deciding not to include them. The New Yorker, September 15, 2003


«The L.A. Times, it’s an anti-Christian publication, as is the New York Times.»
The New Yorker, September 15, 2003


«There is a [spiritual] dark force that didn’t want us to make the film. It’s so completely palpable while you’re doing it.»
EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), January 24, 2004


Q: Do you feel besieged [by people opposing The Passion of the Christ]?
Gibson: Beseiged? No, not really. They’re pretty pathetic actually. I sort of look at them now and feel sorry for them. They’ve given their best shot, they kind of came out with this mantra again and again and again, ‘He’s an anti-Semite, he’s an anti-Semite, he’s an anti-Semite, he’s an anti-Semite.» I’m not. But they like to say that in newspapers. So it’s kind of how those, anything repeated often enough slowly amalgamates into some sort of accepted truth, which is like-»
Q: Are you concerned about that? Because I was going to ask you, are you anti-Semitic?
Gibson: Of course not. And if I was, I wouldn’t have been working in this town with the people I’ve worked with for so many years, nor would they have wanted to work with me. It’s ludicrous. I don’t want to lynch any Jews. That’s not what I’m about. I love them. I pray for them. I pray sincerely that every man, woman and child of the Jewish people ends up with his name written in the book of life.
Q: What do you make of their charge? They say, this movie could serve as a toxic recipe for religious hatred, could legitimize anti-Semitism. Will it?
Gibson: No. This is rubbish, this is absolute rubbish. This film is about faith, hope, love and forgiveness. That’s what it’s about.
EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), January 24, 2004


Gibson: This film collectively blames humanity on the death of Jesus. Now there are no exemptions there. All right? I’m first on the line for culpability. I did it. Christ died for all men for all times.
Q: Including Jewish people.
Gibson: Yeah. I–I–they’re part of the human race.
EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), January 24, 2004


Gibson: I don’t know if I will ever work again. You know, I’ve said, that this is a career killer.
EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), January 24, 2004


«[Opposition to The Passion of the Christ] kind of put me back on my heels a little bit…[I] expected some level of turbulence because when one delves into religion and politics – people’s deeply held beliefs — you’re going to stir things up…But it was a surprise to have shots being fired over the bow while I was still filming, and then to have various loud voices in the press – people who hadn’t seen the work — really slinging mud.»
The Houston Chronicle, February 01, 2004, Sunday

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