Mel Gibson’s movie which revolves around the final hours of our Saviour, is a total deviation from the Faith of the Church which holds the Holy Cross as the symbol of our Lord’s victory over death. The Cross is the banner of triumph. This is how it was revealed to Saint Constantine and this is the belief of true Christians throughout history. From East to West and North to South the Holy Cross was seen as the “Cross of Glory”. Caedmon’s “The Dream of the Rood” and the “Ruthwell Cross” in Scotland are vivid examples of this Faith.
Gibson’s film details the last 12 hours of the Lord’s life in excruciatingly violent images. The Passion of our Lord is separated from the Birth, Life, Resurrection and Glorification of our Saviour. The inspiration for this movie was revealed in an interview that appears on the "Inside the Vatican" web site. Gibson said that the script was based on the writings of two mystics, Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) and Mary of Agreda (1602-1665). He was in his library praying about making a movie about the Passion and Emmerich’s book "fell off the shelf" into his hand. He saw this as a sign and used these visions as the basis for his film. Cf. http://www.passion-movie.com/promote/book.html . These visions are based on the blasphemous theology of the Middle Ages which put the violent death of the Lord at the center of faith. The death on the Cross of our Saviour was the price paid to God for the sin of Adam and Eve which all people inherited. The enormity of the sin required this horrific punishment. This introduced self-flagellation, stigmata and other "mortifications" into piety. The Glory of the Cross was replaced by the Theology of punishment, satisfaction, merits and indulgences. Gibson’s movie presents the blasphemous portrayal of the Lord not as the Victor but as the victim. The depiction of our Saviour as a man abandoned by God denies the Divinity of the Son of God and the true meaning of the Holy Cross.
We do not need Gibson’s movie or any other theatrical presentation to teach us our Faith. The Gospels, the writings of the Saints, the Hymns of the Church and the Holy Ikons give us the correct instruction on the Holy Cross, the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord. No actor, who one day portrays Christ and the next day portrays a criminal or some other immoral person, can teach us our Faith. Theatrical portrayals of sacred subjects cannot depict the Divine nature of these subjects. This is why we have ikons and not photographs and portraits of our Saviour. Images leave a mark on the soul. Holy Ikons bring Grace and peace. Gibson’s film can only pollute the soul with its violence and denial of the Divinity of our Saviour.