A Guide to the Passion, 100 Questions About ‘The Passion of the Christ’ by the editors of Catholic Exchange

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by the editors of Catholic Exchange
For those who believe that a few grouchy skeptics, such as myself, have blown the Roman Catholic connection in Mel Gibson’s movie out of proportion, they should read this little book designed as a follow-up to the movie and written by a Roman Catholic evangelistic organization. This guide removes all doubt about the movie’s Catholic roots. In the introduction you will find these comments:

As someone involved in the distribution and marketing of the film, I noticed early on the fervor with which many Protestant communities were preparing to use the film for evangelistic purposes. Websites sprang up featuring downloadable materials about Jesus and the Gospels. Marketing companies began churning out posters and flyers promoting the film and their own faith communities. Tracts poured into circulation making the case for Christ as the key to peace and happiness in life.

Yet, for all the sophisticated evangelization strategies, the irony is that our Protestant brothers and sisters cannot adequately speak to many of the issues and questions the film evokes because the film is so distinctly Marian, so – obviously Eucharistic, so quintessentially Catholic—as is the New Testament itself. In terms of effecting conversions and motivating people to weed out sin from their lives – which is what meditating on the Passion of Christ is all about—our evangelical friends have been an inspiration. But can their theology adequately or honestly mine such cinematic gems as the Last Supper flashbacks? Though the founders of some of the prominent Protestant denominations believed in and adored the Blessed Sacrament, this fact has been lost today in huge portions of American Protestantism. And without an understanding of Mary as our model in true Christian faith, one cannot begin to understand her significant role in the film. Only a solid understanding of the Catholic Faith can help us grasp these essential elements that figure so prominently in both the Scriptural record and the apostolic Tradition.

The film quite accurately links the sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the Mass. In doing so, it faithfully depicts biblical and Catholic teaching. Yet the Eucharistic connections between the Passion and the Mass are not obvious to many Catholics today. Indeed, speaking out of my own experience as a clueless Catholic ten years ago, I can only say that it’s highly unlikely that such connections are obvious even to those who have been born and raised in the Church. This is not because the connections are not there, but because so many people have not received an education in the Faith that equips them to see those connections, which are quite real and are, in fact, delineated for us in the teaching of the Church. Therefore, we at CatholicExchange.com see a need for this book to provide answers to some of the many questions critical to a full understanding of authentic Christianity – questions The Passion of the Christ will most certainly raise. (emphases supplied/added)

If Gibson’s movie is a Catholic depiction of the Passion, then it only follows that it propagates Catholic theology. A Guide carefully explains what that theology is. Everything from the unbiblical veneration of Mary, to the role of Catholic tradition, to the works-based gospel of Rome is carefully detailed.

What makes this guide even more deadly are two things. First, countless numbers impressed by the movie will use A Guide as their source for finding God. Secondly, many evangelical churches are blindly using this guide in their follow-up of movie attendees. The gap between Rome and biblical Christianity continues to narrow.

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