Vatican: As if pimping the film first time around wasn't bad enough, the boys in the frocks and silly hats have set the wheels in motion to offer up a sainthood to the mad old broad who wrote the book that inspired Gibson to inflict his drivel on the world.
The 19th century German nun whose blood-soaked visions of Jesus's death inspired Mel Gibson's film The Passion of The Christ will soon be put on the path to sainthood, Catholic Church officials have said.
Anne Catherine Emmerich, a sickly mystic who lived from 1774 to 1824, has already reached near cult status among traditionalist Roman Catholics for the book that gave Gibson the grisly details the Gospels did not provide.
The Vatican says Pope John Paul II will beatify Emmerich for her virtuous life, not her best-selling book, but the 3 October ceremony will further publicise her Passion accounts — which some critics denounce as medieval and anti-Semitic.
Beatification will almost certainly be interpreted as approval of them,Father John O'Malley, a church historian, wrote disapprovingly in the United States' Jesuit weekly, America.
The Rt Rev Reinhard Lettmann, Roman Catholic Bishop of Muenster in western Germany — where Emmerich lived — announced the beatification date last week.
Beatification is the last step before sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.
The Rt Rev Lettmann stressed how the nun had strengthened others in their faith despite her own frailty, a theme dear to John Paul II who struggles on at 84 despite suffering from Parkinson's disease.
Although Gibson said his blockbuster was true to the Gospels, he clearly turned to Emmerich's The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ for some scenes.
The episode where Mary mops up her son's blood is pure Emmerich. No Gospel mentions a hooded devil inciting Jews to demand Christ's crucifixion or following him as he carried his cross.
She supplied me with stuff I never would have thought of,Gibson told an interviewer earlier this year.
What you see in her text is a very visceral Christianity,said Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, art professor at Georgetown University in Washington.
It is very raw and well-suited to a modern culture with a high level of violence,she said.It's not something you want to read to your children before putting them to bed.
Another problem with The Dolorous Passion is its perceived anti-Semitism. Emmerich portrays the Jews as cruel Christ-killers, a view the Church renounced during the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).
I would not recommend it to anyone,Fr O'Malley wrote.
The Vatican suspended an earlier bid to beatify Emmerich in 1928 out of concern that it had been embellished. But the case was reopened in 1973 and approved in July 2003, eight months before Gibson's film.
Sainthood for nun behind film's 'anti-Semitic' scenes - Reuters, 31st May 2004.