Friday, April 3, 2015

In Defense of 'The Passion of the Christ'

It's Holy Week. Something that Catholics are encouraged to do during Holy Week is to meditate on Christ's sacrifice on the Cross.

Sometimes, it's hard to imagine what He did for us. Christ's death is softened by distance, and even if we know in our minds that it was horrifically painful in both a physical and spiritual sense, maybe we don't really understand it in our hearts. There are various ways to remedy this. For me, it's The Stations of the Cross. Taking Christ's journey up to to Golgotha, step by step, is kind of a powerful thing for me. When I was little, it used to make me cry. I'd like to think that I have more self-control now, but nothing really brings to home the gravity of Jesus' sacrifice like praying the Stations of the Cross.

Okay, but now, you're probably wondering about the title. Yes, I was leading up to something with that. Something my Dad likes to do to help understand Good Friday is to watch The Passion of the Christ. It's not the only thing he does to understand Good Friday, but it certainly does make you think about it.

This movie has received criticism from the mainstream media for being too 'Gory'.

Let's reflect on the absurdity of that statement. Hollywood makes thousands of movies. And a whole lot of them are a whole lot gorier than The Passion of the Christ.

What about Alien? How come that movie isn't criticized for the Chest-Burster scene? Howabout Saving Private Ryan? This movie has the most harrowing war sequence ever put to film. Does it get dumped on because of this? Of course not. The point of the gore isn't to excite those with sick and twisted interests. It's to serve as a reminder of what those poor men went through and why they did it.

Same goes for The Passion of the Christ. Nobody sits through that movie thinking to themselves “Gee, I can't wait until the next scene where Our Lord gets tortured and humiliated!”

You watch that movie because you want to understand what Our Lord went through to save us from our sins.

The Passion of the Christ is a very intense movie. Far too intense for a lot of people. No problem here! Nowhere in Catholic doctrine does it say that you have to watch a movie to be a good Christian. It helps some of us put into perspective what went on that day, and that's all. It's not a typical Hollywood orgy of gore, and it's not required that you watch it. I'm not even sure if I will view it all the way through. But what I do see of it, I will remember, and will never forget that incredible act of love performed for a world that didn't even deserve it.

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