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A Bloodthirsty God in The Passion of The Christ
Garry Wills writes of the Mel Gibson film and its promoters, including the Legion of Christ and pedophilia.

Religious extremism is the bond among those evangelical Christians, Catholics, and some conservative Jews in praising Mel Gibson's film The Passion of Christ according to a review of the film by Catholic historian Garry Wills in the current issue of The New York Review of Books. Wills associates the film with the "great awakening" of Jonathan Edwards behind whose theology there is also "a bloodthirsty God" who is damning and punishing. He points to St. Augustine as one of the few theologians who rejected this view of a vengeful father because it was unworthy of God, and along with it the "ransom" theory of Christ's death.

Wills is particularly interested in the conservative groups supporting the film. His article describes one particular group, even appearing in the film's credits, the ultra-secret "Legion of Christ" as he discusses a book by Jason Berry and Gerald Renner called Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II. The group's founder, Marcial Maciel Degolado, has been accused of pedophilia but Rome has refused to take up the case.

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Date Added: 3/22/2004 Date Revised: 3/22/2004 11:04:36 AM

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