|Please bear with us as we
update this website. Links which are currently active are in yellow.
The site will be updated on a daily basis over the next few days. If
you would like to contribute content, please email us.
To view content under the old Index, please
click here :- Previous
"The Passion" Isn't
Anti-Semitic, Says Vatican Aide
Rome's Jewish Community Wanted the Film Condemned
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 11, 2004 (Zenit.org).-
A Vatican spokesman says the film "The Passion of the
Christ" cannot be considered anti-Semitic without also regarding
the Gospel the same way.
Joaquín Navarro-Valls made this statement in response to a request
from Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome, who, after seeing the
film Tuesday, asked that the Vatican condemn it officially.
The film "makes us go back to a period before the Second Vatican
Council," the rabbi contended.
In statements published today by the Roman newspaper Il Messaggero,
the director of the Vatican press office said: "The film is a
cinematographic transcription of the Gospels. If it were anti-Semitic,
the Gospels would also be so."
"It must not be forgotten that the film is full of 'positive'
Jewish personages: from Jesus to Mary, from the Cyrenian to Veronica,
including the moved crowd, etc.," Navarro-Valls stressed.
"If such a story were anti-Semitic, it would pose a problem for
the Judeo-Christian dialogue, because it would be like saying that the
Gospels are not historical," he said. "One must realize the
seriousness of these affirmations."
That there have been no official statements does not mean that the
Church condemns the film, Navarro-Valls said.
In fact, he said, the film "has nothing anti-Semitic about it.
Otherwise, it would have been criticized" by the Pope and by his
aides in the Holy See. The Holy Father saw the movie in December.
Navarro-Valls referred to a Vatican II declaration that pronounces
itself against anti-Semitism.
"The declaration 'Nostra Aetate' was issued by the Catholic
Church and, if it has not reacted in this case, it means that it has
seen no reason to do so," he explained. "Otherwise, the
hierarchy would have spoken out -- either the Vatican or the local
Navarro-Valls revealed that some time ago, Abraham Foxman of the
Anti-Defamation League, came to Rome to make contacts in the Vatican
on the issue.
"Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council
for Social Communications, replied: 'I don't see anything in this film
that can be considered as anti-Semitic,'" the Vatican spokesman
"The secretary of the Commission for Religious Relations with the
Jews, Father Norbert Hofmann, explained to [Foxman] that the Church
has pronounced itself against anti-Semitism with the declaration
'Nostra Aetate,'" he concluded.