Mel Gibson

by Jimmy Akin

in Current Affairs

In an e-mail titled "Mel Gibson," a reader writes:

Come on, Jimmy, drop the hammer on this hypocrite!

I don’t drop hammers on people who are displaying signs of contrition, which at the moment Mr. Gibson is doing.

The reason I don’t do so is that Jesus didn’t. The people he verbally "dropped hammers" on were individuals who were convinced of their own righteousness and who thought they had no need of repentence. He invariably showed compassion toward those who acknowledged their sins and sought forgiveness.

Of course, contrition can be feigned, and Jesus would be in a position to look into a person’s heart and see if they were faking it, but I’m not Jesus and I can’t do that. As a result, I am called as a Christian to look charitably on expressions of remorse and–unless I have good evidence of insincerity–to deem them credible and treat the person accordingly.

That does not mean ignoring what the person did. As a rational being I am also called to incorporate what I know about the person into my appraisal of him and his history.

READ GIBSON’S FIRST APOLOGY (SCROLL DOWN).

READ GIBSON’S SECOND APOLOGY.

That said, I can share the following thoughts:

1) I had not known about Mr. Gibson’s battle with alcoholism–which he has apparently had for some time. He also (if you visit the link) is reported to have battled drug abuse, bipolar disorder, and suicidal impulses. According to his own admission, he had a relapse of alcohol abuse and according to some reports he was near suicide on the night of his drunk driving incident. According to the previous link:

A source close to the star told Deadline Hollywood that Mel “felt he was helpless to alcohol and didn’t know what to do about it.”

“No one’s really asking questions about his state of mind. That’s why he was driving around 90 miles an hour. This was a death wish. If that cop hadn’t stopped him, this guy was going to be wrapped around a pole.”

If that is the case, Mr. Gibson has been in a really, really dark place that I wouldn’t wish on anybody. For what it’s worth, his apparent remark that "My life is F’d" is consistent with a suicidal bout since being a Hollywood celebrity who has a DUI does not amount to having one’s life or career ruined. This remark suggests a deeper issue than simply getting caught driving drunk and it could be indicative of a suicidal incident.

Even if the source is wrong, though, I wouldn’t wish a history of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, bipolar disorder, and suicidal tendencies on anybody. The kind of suffering that this complex would involve is enormous, and my heart goes out to anyone who has had to endure that kind of suffering.

When my wife died, I went through enormous personal suffering, but I never wanted to kill myself, and so I can only think of what a suicidal person is going through as orders of magnitude greater than what I went through, which is enough to make me cringe.

Upon learning all this about Mr. Gibson, I find myself moved to compassion and prayer.

At the same time,

2) His apparent anti-Semitic remarks are revolting and I find them utterly despicable.

The question is how they are to be viewed in light of his medical condition and past history.

I don’t know enough about bipolar disorder to understand what kinds of thoughts it may put into a person’s head when they’re in a depressive phase. I know in a manic phase it can cause a person to think bizarrely paranoid things that he would not think when in his right mind, but I don’t know if that happens in the depressive phase of the illness, nor do I know what the severity of the illness may be for Mr. Gibson. I therefore have a question mark in my mind regarding what role his reported bipolar disorder may have played in generating his anti-Semitic remarks.

PRE-PUBLICATION UPDATE 1: LEARN MORE ABOUT BIPOLAR DISORDER (I HAVEN’T HAD A CHANCE TO THOROUGHLY READ THIS ONE YET, BUT I ASSUME IT’S USEFUL).

PRE-PUBLICATION UPDATE 2: According to Wikipedia’s article on bipolar disorder (EXCERPTS):

Severe depression [due to bipolar disorder] may be accompanied by symptoms of psychosis. These symptoms include hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or otherwise sensing the presence of stimuli that are not there) and delusions (false personal beliefs that are not subject to reason or contradictory evidence and are not explained by a person’s cultural concepts). They may also suffer from paranoid thoughts of being persecuted or monitored by some powerful entity such as the government or a hostile force. Intense and unusual religious beliefs may also be present, such as patients’ strong insistence that they have a God-given role to play in the world, a great and historic mission to accomplish, or even that they possess supernatural powers. Delusions in a depression may be far more distressing, sometimes taking the form of intense guilt for supposed wrongs that the patient believes he or she has inflicted on others.

By the same token, research by Kay Redfield Jamison of Johns Hopkins University and others has attributed high rates of creativity and productivity to certain individuals with bipolar disorder.

People with bipolar disorder are about twice as likely to commit suicide as those suffering from major depression (12% to 20%).[citation needed] Individuals with bipolar disorder tend to become suicidal, especially during mixed states such as dysphoric hypomania and agitated depression. Suicidal symptoms include:

  • Feeling hopeless, [e.g., the "My life is F'd" quotation--ja] that nothing will ever change or get better
  • Putting oneself in harm’s way, or in situations where there is a danger of being killed [e.g., driving 90 in a 45mph zone--ja]
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs

If Wikipedia’s article is accurate and if Mr. Gibson has a significant case of bipolar disorder then the above complex of symptoms could significantly explain his recent behavior, as well as his demonstrable cinematic creativity.

When it comes to the role alcohol may have played, my impression is that when intoxicated people say strange things, the strange things generally fall into one of two classes: (1) things they really believe but self-censor when not intoxicated and (2) things they are inclined to believe but don’t fully endorse when non-intoxicated.

Mr. Gibson’s two apologies are meant to convey the impression that it was not (1). In his first apology, Gibson said that "I . . . said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable." In his second apology, Gibson said that "The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life. Every human being is God’s child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith. . . . I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery."

If Mr. Gibson is being honest in these statements, then (1) would not be the case. However, he may be dishonest.

At a minimum, I would be inclined to regard his statements as stemming from the kind of situation described in (2): that he at least has anti-Semitic tendencies that–under the influence of alcohol or bipolar disorder–can turn into at least temporary anti-Semitic convictions.

This is further corroborated by the fact that his father is a known anti-Semite and that anti-Semitic views are common in the Rad Trad circles in which Mr. Gibson apparently moves.

The strength of his anti-Semitic tendencies are apparently not so extreme that they would prevent him from casting a Jewish woman as the Mother of Christ in The Passion of the Christ, but the remarks he made are utterly despicable and are the apparent product of anti-Semitic tendencies that I am very dismayed to have confirmed.

This leads me to . . .

3) How I’ll have to view his work in the future.

I’ve never been a Mel Gibson fan, and I don’t follow his work closely. The movie of his that stands out most in my mind, of course, is The Passion of the Christ, which was subject to numerous charges of anti-Semitism when (and especially before) it came out. After seeing the movie, I felt that many of these charges were unfounded, which was a view affirmed by many in the Jewish community, including Michael Medved.

Nevertheless, I also felt that there was one element in the film in particular that was subject to criticism on this score: the film’s treatment of the high priest Caiaphas.

Gibson created a portrait of Pontius Pilate that was sympathetic and nuanced, and the film cried out for him to do the same thing for Caiaphas. Indeed, the Gospel of John gives one all the fodder one would need to portray Caiaphas in a sympathetic light, given his fear (chronicled in John 11) that if Jesus wasn’t put to death that he would become a revolutionary Messianic leader that would start a war with the Romans and cause the Romans to invade and kill massive numbers of Jewish people.

Given the fact that the gospels also portray Pilate as having ambivalent feelings about the crucifixion, the blindingly obvious artistic choice was to portray them both sympathetically, with both feeling that they had to do what they did regarding Jesus for reasons that the viewer could understand. In other words, the tragedy should have been one of "Father, forgive them for the know not what they do" in the cases of both men.

Gibson delivered that for Pilate and utterly ignored it for Caiaphas, who simply comes across as a fanatic in the film.

At the time I said (in conversations with film critic Steven Greydanus) that this artistic blindspot on Gibson’s part could be due either to an anti-Semitic tendency or due to the random blindspots that all artists suffer from. Given Gibson’s disavowals of anti-Semitism and his involvement of Jewish individuals in the project (casting a Jewish woman as the Mother of God is no small thing if you’re an anti-Semite), I hoped to be able to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one, but in light of his recent anti-Semitic tirade, I have to re-evaluate.

It now looks probable to me that the blindspot was due to his anti-Semitic tendencies.

While I still consider The Passion of the Christ to be an extraordinary film, I now find it tainted in this respect.

I also will have to view Gibson’s future projects in light of what is now known.

All of which makes me sad.

I am glad to see, though, that in his apologies Mr. Gibson has acknowledged personal culpability and is seeking to make amends to the Jewish community. I hope he is sincere.

I cannot offer him forgiveness for what he said, however. There is a principle in Jewish thought–which I think is theologically valid if properly understood–that to the extent a sin is against another person, only that person can forgive it.

All sins also contain an offense against God, and only God can forgive that, but to the extent a sin is committed against another person, only that person can extend forgiveness for what was done.

Since I am not a member of the Jewish community, I therefore have no forgiveness to offer Mr. Gibson.

I am glad that he is seeking forgiveness and to make what amends he can. I hope he is sincere, and I hope that he takes this incident to heart and reforms his life and his views.

What he did was vile–it was a dramatic exposure of the face of evil–and I hope that he can find the personal conversion and redemption and healing that he–and  we all–need.

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{ 113 comments }

ami August 2, 2006 at 12:12 pm

I just can’t help but wonder if he was talking about the Jewish people who went on the attack about the POTHC.
This, if true, is not to excuse, but to explain.

Anonymous August 2, 2006 at 12:26 pm

Mel seems to be a good guy, not perfect, very flawed, but nonetheless a good guy.

StubbleSpark August 2, 2006 at 1:01 pm

There is something known as the “Jekyll and Hyde” effect that happens to some people who drink alcohol. That is, their personality undergoes a complete reversal. If this is true of Mel Gibson, then his epithets were not from the heart, but a product of deep addiction.
As a matter of fact, a book has been written recently that hypothesizes the original book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was actually about alcoholism. The book is called The Transforming Daught by Thomas L. Reed and is going to be published soon.
The following is from
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0786426489/202-2055327-4843013?v=glance&n=266239
Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is viewed as the classic allegory of man’s duality – the good and evil embodied in every person. But could Jekyll’s “transforming draught” have been alcohol? In the Victorian era, alcohol was the topic of national debate for decades and people endlessly deliberated its proper place in society. Shadowed all his life by the cloud of alcoholism, Stevenson well knew the good and evil of strong drink. This book investigates Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as an allegory of alcoholism – an interpretation that cultural change and the story’s renown have perhaps obscured. The author examines patterns of language, plot, characterization and imagery to reveal how mind-altering drink figures as the story’s subtext. Early chapters establish the story’s literal references to strong drink and its metaphors regarding alcohol. The focus then shifts to drinking in Stevenson’s life…

Conan August 2, 2006 at 1:03 pm

Jimmy, very well said.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he’s been at least influenced by all the conspiracy theories that float about the rad-trad circles. I wouldn’t say that most of these folks are anti-semitic in a general sort of way, but most of these theories end up pointing to some weird Zionist-Neocon-illuminati cabal that has infiltrated the Vatican and most everything else.
Note the odd reactions coming out from our most conservative brothers about the recent troubles in the middle-east.

Trubador August 2, 2006 at 1:14 pm

Two other points to keep in mind:
1) The influence of growing up under his father (who’s been notoriously anti-semitic over the years).
2) Not that this has anything to do with his behavior the other night, but just something to keep in mind… he’s NOT Catholic (despite claims to be so). He belonged to a schismatic sect, then left that church when it was taken over by the SSPX. He then built and formed his own “catholic” church on a piece of private property (all of this, I’m sure, also influenced by his father who was also pre-VatII schismatic).
So, prayers are needed. Prayers for his mental and emotional health. And prayers that he’ll find his way back to the one true Church.

Brent Brown August 2, 2006 at 1:15 pm

my impression is that when intoxicated people say strange things, the strange things generally fall into one of two classes:
I appreciate your thoughts, and agree with most of them.
I am, however, still a bit uncomfortable with the concept of in vino veritas. I think I lean more in the direction that sin (such as drunkenness) would distort our true character rather than reveal it.
My hope is that his addiction and mental state suppressed the real Mel Gibson which in turn allowed garbage from his upbringing to rise to the surface. This is much different than the assumption (popular in the press) that the real Mel Gibson is a monster an the alcohol suppressed his facade.

Jared Weber August 2, 2006 at 1:24 pm

I think we need to keep in mind that there is an element of spiritual warfare at work in many human actions. We should examine Gibson’s witness here-to-fore, as well as the latest news, taking that into account. As the public figure that he is (some have called him the best known Catholic besides the Pope), this recent development is quite earth-shaking for some (especially those outside the Church) who see him as the Ultimate Ultramontane.
Is Gibson under attack by the forces of Hell? We ALL are. Is this an exclusively Hellish attack? No, probably not. There are elements, no doubt, of biology and your standard human (fleshy) weakness involved as well. But it strikes me that there is an element of the demonic in this latest development. The Passion film was powerful enough to, according to news reports, have made criminals come forward and admit to their crimes. It makes me weep every time I see it. What’s more, it makes me re-examine my own failures to live up to God’s Plan.
(I don’t share Mr. Akin’s view that Caiphas should, of necessity, have been cast in the same light as Pilate. Caiphas has basically one “line” in John 11 about the fears that the Romans would destroy them unless Jesus was killed. Pilate, to my recollection tried a number of times to keep Jesus alive. “Let me release him to you on account of the festival.” “Let me have him scourged instead.” “You want me to crucify your KING?” We also KNOW a lot more about Pilate’s struggle in this in that it–and not the struggle of Caiphas, if it existed–is chronicled in the Gospels, up to and including the dream of Pilate’s wife. I just don’t see the moral or artistic parity of the two–Pilate and Caiphas–by any means. And to say that this particular aspect of the film stems from anti-Semitic tendencies tends, I believe, to take things a bit too far. I mean, Gibson even cut from the script the line about “His Blood be[ing] upon us and upon our children”–a line which is in the Gospel account of the crucifixion–simply to appease such criticism. As I said, I just don’t see it as being evidence of anti-Semitism, unlike Gibson’s words to the police.)
Gibson screwed up and he knows that. Unfortunately, in the world’s eyes, that reflects badly on ALL Catholics. I just hope we keep in mind the fact the Enemy understands that, as well.

Karen August 2, 2006 at 1:47 pm

Unfortunately, in the world’s eyes, that reflects badly on ALL Catholics.
It’ll reflect on us badly in the eyes of some whether or not he’s Catholic, because “Catholic” is attached to him, but isn’t he actually a schismatic (SSPX)? I only ask out of curiosity and my intention isn’t to imply anything by posting this. I’d just like to know.

bill912 August 2, 2006 at 1:55 pm

Brent Brown makes a good point about being “uncomfortable with the concept of in vino veritas.” In vino veritas may be valid for people whose brains work normally, but people who are bi-polar have brains which have a chemical imbalance. Add alcohol to that imbalance, and the brain is REALLY messed up.

Jared Weber August 2, 2006 at 2:02 pm

Karen: You know, no one has really ever answered that question (whether Gibson is Catholic, SSPX–which DO have valid Masses, by the way–, or something else) to my satisfaction. Gibson does live here in the archdiocese of Los Angeles, after all, and it’s difficult to find a church which doesn’t engage in Liturgical abuse in this place. I’ve often wondered if the Los Angeles diocese itself isn’t in some form of de facto schism, given the numerous false teachings that take place with archdiocesan approval.
So, in short, I don’t know. But the world thinks that Gibson is Catholic.

Michael August 2, 2006 at 2:02 pm

Is Gibson under attack by the forces of Hell? We ALL are. Is this an exclusively Hellish attack? No, probably not.
You cannot deny this aspect of events and I am surprised this was not mentioned earlier on a Catholic website. There is no doubt there is a demonic component to this episode, not just in knowing Gibson’s weaknesses and exploiting them but also in the ferocity of the attack upon him after the incident. Gibson most definitely needs prayer to help him through this trap the darkness set for him.

Jared Weber August 2, 2006 at 2:05 pm

Michael: Couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, Gibson let them win this time. Let’s pray for St. Paul’s words “When I am weak, then am I strong,” to be born out again.

Jared Weber August 2, 2006 at 2:27 pm

Jimmy, please delete the post by the racist jackass claiming to be Mel Gibson.

David B. August 2, 2006 at 2:30 pm

Jimmy,
I think that Caiaphas may have been worse than you believe. I say this because the Jews thought that anyone who was killed upon the cross, without a doubt, went to Hell. If Caiaphas just wanted to save the lives of the people, he might’ve attempted to have Jesus killed in a less ‘Damnable’ way.
Also, the idea that Pontius Pilate is a sympathetic character is, IMHO, not true. Pilate knew he had no reason to execute Our Lord and yet he did so. That doesn’t seem very sympathetic to me.

bill912 August 2, 2006 at 2:31 pm

I second that, Jared. Besides being a racist, the guy is also a liar and a coward(by claiming to be Mel Gibson).

Lynne August 2, 2006 at 2:34 pm

Michael and Jared, I’m with you on this.
Also, if Mel Gibson is anti-semitic then so is Steven Spielburg with his movie, Munich.

Seamus August 2, 2006 at 3:27 pm

Besides being a racist, the guy is also a liar and a coward(by claiming to be Mel Gibson).
He’s not claiming to be Mel Gibson. He’s posting pseudonymously.
He is, however, what we Irishmen would call a putz.

Jimmy Akin August 2, 2006 at 3:35 pm

Jimmy, please delete the post by the racist jackass claiming to be Mel Gibson.
Done.

Jared Weber August 2, 2006 at 4:05 pm

Thanks, Jimmy.

MaxMarie August 2, 2006 at 4:21 pm

Are we forgetting that Mary, in The Passion, was played by a Jewish woman who had plenty to say about the kindness she received from Mel Gibson on set?
If, indeed, he is bi-polar and hopefully on medication – how did that mix with the alcohol? My neice lived with me for several years. She had a bi-polar boy friend. He was a drone when on his medication. Lively and fun without it. But prone to these irrational outbursts where he would accuse her of the most crazy things. Things he didn’t really believe. Later he would say he didn’t remember saying them. Only apologizing after a number of people confronted him with his words.
None of us were there. None of us actually know the man. But so many are ready to write him off. The film is tainted? sigh… Jesus tells us to forgive. And forgive AND FORGIVE.
When Jesus walked this earth, he walked it as a Jew. Our early church fathers were Jews. To be anti-Semitic is to hate the Catholic faith. If he really is anti-Semitic – then he needs our prayers more than our criticisms.

Anonymous August 2, 2006 at 4:22 pm

My wife, now an RN at a major hospital, worked at a Benedictine run nursing home as a nursing assistant while she attended nursing school. I have a particular fondness for elderly folks, as does my wife, so I would visit her there often for meals, etc. and occasionally visit with the residents. A number of retired priests and sisters lived there among the other residents, many of whom lived in the Alzheimer/Dimentia floors of the facility. I found it particularly interesting, and in some cases rather shocking, to hear stories from my wife about her workplace, and in some cases to hear first-hand, the comments made by these old priests and sisters. Especially germaine to this conversation though, were the foul, vile, vulgar, even blasphemous comments that would come out of the mouths of these former priests and nuns, who clearly had no idea what the were saying anymore, or the means to control themselves if they had. Men and women who had ostensibly devoted their lives and their talents to Christ, were now cursing like the devil himself…To summarize, ordained, Holy servants of God, suffering from mental infirmity, derived from organic brain ailments, were offering coherent un-Holy verbiage, not informed by that person’s intellectual will or conscience.
(Mr. Akin): I think you can see where I’m going with this…you lay out in your argument two options relating to Gibson’s comments, essentially Gibson’s comments are confirmation of anti-semitic underpinnings in Gibsons mind, or option II: Gibson’s comments reflect an inclination or propensity toward believing, in his mind, the anti-semitic comments he made.
I respectfully ask you, Mr. Akin, to consider option three, which is: You to my knowledge are not a clinical or neuro-psychologist or psychiatrist, you are not a chemical dependency professional, and clearly have no real understanding of the chemical, and resulting physical changes the human brain goes through as the result of organic brain disease/mental infirmity/illness (whether or not exacerbated by chemical use/abuse or not). It’s hard for good Christian persons to take a person like Mel Gibson, who appears normal, and who whether you like his stuff or not, is immensely talented, and not attribute his behavior to wilful, sinful, despicable, INTENTIONAL, CONTROLLABLE behavior. But if you look at examples like I’ve laid out above, or consider case studies like I’ve seen over and over again in my clients (I am an attorney who works with a broad variety of mentally ill, chemically abusing clients, and who has been a professional mental health worker with a degree in the area), I really think you’d change your tune about Gibson. It strikes me that Gibson is displaying classical borderline pathology, and I wouldn’t be suprised if he’s using drugs a bit heavier that alcohol to self-medicate and feel something again. Gibson is the leper(sp), or the prostitute, or the beggar we see in so many Bible stories: full of flaws, unapproachable, with a target on his back that makes it socially acceptable to shun him, and for you to make comments like you just don’t know if you’ll be able to…blah, blah, blah…
Be careful because you control this blog…not to give yourself powers like God to decide who you’re going to forgive and find compassion in your heart for, and who you feel righteously indignant about, so-much-so that you feel like you can pass that person over for a shot at redemption. Paraphrasing God, love them all…and let God sort’m out! Hubris, I can tell you…something I personally suffer with daily in my profession, given my clients and their issues/frustrations/etc., and my challenges in working with these folks, can be a major struggle, and potentially mortal sin territory if you start feeling to comfortable with the color of the stains on your soul. Good luck in your deliberations…The first part of your message today was spot-on!
Peace,
JLO

Mike S August 2, 2006 at 5:35 pm

The human brain, designed by God, is the most sophisticated computer on this planet. All others and their capabilities pale by comparison. Like a computer it stores information, all information, from the first day to the last. It remains there. There is no delete button. The only way to remove it is by cutting away all or part of the brain. That’s why we are able to remember a great many things , and in great detail, after many , many years. Some good, some bad. And no matter how hard we try, it is difficult to shake off the bad experiences. That’s why pornography is so destructive. Those images remain and come back, even at the worst of all times. And if we are not vigilant in suppressing them, they will take control. As in any computer, “garbage in…garbage out”. Mel Gibson had a lot of bad influences in his life. If he is sincere, let us pray for him. If he is not sincere, let us pray for him.

Leigh August 2, 2006 at 5:36 pm

As a family member of a person with bipolar disorder, I can say with confidence that, during the depressive phase, people with bipolar can say things that are so completely out of character for them that it can frighten close family members. Expressions of worthlessness amd hopelessness can alternate with verbal attacks on others, even beloved spouses and other family members, as being “out to get me,” “all against me,” etc.
After the waking nightmare our family went through this past winter and spring, I definitely second the need for Christian charity and giving the benefit of the doubt. I just hope that this incident will be the “short, sharp shock” that motivates Mel to get treatment for both his bipolar and his alcoholism, and to *stay* on his treatment.

Mark August 2, 2006 at 6:13 pm

Not to make excuses for Mr. Gibson, but he must have been deeply effected by the controvery surrouning the Passion movie and the charges of anti-semitism leveled against him by those who simply wished to discredit the movie or stop it from being made altogether. He braved the controversy and kept an iron chin but inside he must have been boiling! I think we saw some of that inner struggle come out in a big way.
And I don’t discount the fact that he became something of a plaything to evil forces which caught him at his low-point and subjected him to this extreme humiliatin as a kind of punishment for making the movie…
It makes me wonder why he tackled the project in the first place, when interiorly he was engaged in such a deep struggle. Personally, I think he got the movie wrong by portraying the Passion more as an olymian event than as a spiritual battle. I didn’t really find it very insightful and now, perhaps, we know why. Mel doesn’t really have a lot of insight into the redemption — yet.
Maybe after this experience he’ll be in a better position to make a truly insightful redemptive movie.

Nathan August 2, 2006 at 6:19 pm

Not that I’m defending Mel Gibson on his anti-Jewish tirade, but I wonder what kind of response there would be if Mel were a Jew (or whatever) and went into an anti-Catholic tirade? Save for maybe Bill Donahue’s office, something tells me there wouldn’t be much of a fist-pumping frenzy.

Dr. Eric August 2, 2006 at 6:19 pm

A slight correction. The brain is not like a computer. The brain is more like millions of computers all connected with each other in one massive internet of super-microcomputers more advanced than man will ever probably understand.
Not only that, but every piece of information that comes in through the senses is like another “download” into this vast internet. If there is any “short circut,” it can take years to find the cause; if any can actually be found.
If Mr. Gibson does suffer from bi-polar disorder, the causes are so complex that they will never be found out and only treated with drugs. (Prescription or otherwise.)
Mr. Gibson does need our prayers and so does his family.

Puzzled August 2, 2006 at 6:19 pm

Yes, the combination of bipolar, being -very- drunk, and thus probably dehydrated as well suggest that his comments were not genuinely -him-.
With all the attack he has been under because of the The Passion, this could be the capstone.
I’m concerned about the Enemy attack factor, I’ve been noticing increased attacks lately throughout the church. Apocalypto could also be a foodhold, considering the highly demonic nature of ACA religions.
I do wonder that if his production company would still have the money, his next epic should be about the Maccabees. . . Sort of as penance, but mainly as a healing action.

Puzzled August 2, 2006 at 6:35 pm

Some recent anti-semitism by Catholics that -does- disturb me, as they weren’t wasted or bipolar, were the Melkite-rite bishop of Newton Mass, and an episcopal representative of the USCCB on Around the World Live.

Edward August 2, 2006 at 6:36 pm

Puzzled,
Sorry if I’m being dense, but what does ACA stand for? I presume you are referring to the religions of the various peoples who lived in the Americas before Columbus’ arrival?

joe August 2, 2006 at 6:38 pm

It’s hard for good Christian persons to take a person like Mel Gibson, who appears normal,
and who whether you like his stuff or not, is immensely talented, and not attribute his
behavior to wilful,sinful, despicable, INTENTIONAL, CONTROLLABLE behavior.

I don’t suppose you made it to my street when taking this poll. I don’t find it
hard on a regular basis.
It strikes me that Gibson is displaying classical borderline pathology,
and I wouldn’t be suprised if he’s using drugs a bit heavier that alcohol
to self-medicate and feel something again. Gibson is the leper(sp), or the
prostitute, or the beggar we see in so many Bible stories: full of flaws,
unapproachable, with a target on his back that makes it socially acceptable
to shun him, and for you to make comments like you just don’t know if you’ll
be able to…blah, blah, blah…

A blog according to my understanding is an online diary. These are opinions. Besides,
Mr. Akin throws in loads of qualifiers for good measure whenever he is making
these opinions. Qualifiers such as: “If that is the case”, “This remark suggests”,
“I don’t know enough about bipolar disorder, ” “nor do I know what the severity of
the illness may be for Mr. Gibson,”"If Wikipedia’s article is accurate,” “my impression”
“If Mr. Gibson is being honest ,”"I would be inclined.” If Mr. Akin is playing God
with his blog, he is doing a rather poor job. He sounds much more like a humble sort of
guy who has some thoughts about a subject which he knows he might full well might be wrong
about. Wow, almost sounds like the description of a mere mortal writing in a blog. Imagine
that!
Be careful because you control this blog…not to give yourself powers like
God to decide who you’re going to forgive and find compassion in your heart for

Regarding the criticism that Mr. Akin is deciding who he will and will not forgive.
Were you serious? Did you read his statement in context? “All sins also contain an
offense against God, and only God can forgive that, but to the extent a sin is
committed against another person, only that person can extend forgiveness for what was
done.”
In other words, if a kid breaks my neighbors window, it doesn’t make sense for
me to run outiside and say to the kid, “I forgive you.” This sounds like common sense, not
the mark of someone giving himself Godlike powers–although I thoroughly admit I’m not a medical
professional with the appropriate degree.

J.R. Stoodley August 2, 2006 at 6:56 pm

Since there is considerable confusion about whether Mel Gibson is a real Catholic I thought I would give this account, but unfortunately I am only 90% sure of where I heared it so I can’t give my sourse for fear of misrepresenting someone.
Gibson’s father is without doubt a radtrad schismatic sedevacantist.
Gibson used to attend a church that operated without diocesan approval or permission to use the Old Mass, but the priest was not excommunicated. When the priest left he was replaced by an SSPX priest and when that happened (presumably to avoid outright schism) Gibson left.
He built a private chapel on his own property without diocesan approval and found a real Catholic priest willing to say the traditional mass there without permission. This is where things stood when the Passion of the Christ was made.
During the making of the movie Gibson and Jim Caviezal[sp.?] (who is undoubtedly a real Catholic) attended legitimate indult masses said by faithful Jesuits.
After the making of the movie, the bishop condemned Gibson’s private chapel and I think excommunicated the priest (or declared he was excommunicated or something). I don’t know what weight this carries coming from a local bishop not the Pope. Gibson however has kept the priest and the chapel and continued to attend mass there. Does that make him a schismatic? I don’t know. He is in a very dangerous situation in any case, like those who attend SSPX masses. In any case he is not fulfilling his Sunday Obligation, but surely he does not believe that.
At least this is the case if my sourse was right and I have remembered everything accurately, and if there have not been further developments in the last several months.
Does anyone have more solid information and documentation?

J.R. Stoodley August 2, 2006 at 6:59 pm

Twice now my computer or typepad has done weird (but different) things resulting in double postings. Sorry, I hope it will stop.

J.R. Stoodley August 2, 2006 at 7:35 pm

Twice now my computer or typepad has done weird (but different) things resulting in double postings. Sorry, I hope it will stop.

J.R. Stoodley August 2, 2006 at 7:50 pm

That last post seems to have happened entirely on its own, or as a result of hitting the back button. Hopfully Jimmy will delete it too.
About Jimmy’s post, it seems like a great analysis, except I would still choose to attribute the representation of Caiaphas to Mel’s own interpretation of the person (reflecting little or nothing on his opinion on Jews) and perhaps an artistic “blind spot.” I do not hold that Caiaphas should have been given as sympathetic a treatment as Pilate. If anything I would have made Pilate a little less sympathetic, emphasizing (though Mel did some of this) that Pilate was thinking more of himself and worldly matters than the good of Jesus. His was a secular evil. Caiaphas was (or I would present him as) the epitome of religious evil. This would mean a more three dimensional, understandable, but deeply disturbing person, not this one dimensional monster.

Sailorette August 2, 2006 at 8:42 pm

Just a random thought–I’d like to know if MG’s been watching CNN or other major news stations. From what I’ve been watching the last few weeks, other than FOX, it’s pretty much drummed about that it’s Israel (the Jew’s) fault. That might effect the “Jews cause all wars” comment. (Not make it right, but drunken logic isn’t known for being good.)

Alois August 2, 2006 at 8:47 pm

“Some recent anti-semitism by Catholics that -does- disturb me, as they weren’t wasted or bipolar, were the Melkite-rite bishop of Newton Mass, and an episcopal representative of the USCCB on Around the World Live.”
Another ignorant comment. Bishop Wenski and Eparch Bustros are far from being anti-Semites. Alas, I predict more of these frivolous accusations thanks to Mel’s vitriol.

J.R. Stoodley August 2, 2006 at 9:04 pm

Alois,
I don’t know about the two people you mentioned, but I have from an Israeli Rabbi, official and diplomat that the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem said to him at the start of a talk as a sort of introduction, “First I am an Arab, second I am a Palestinian, third I am a Christian.”
This Orthodox Rabbi, who studied in Rome promptly said the Angelus in Latin and walked out (as a sort of protest that would make sence if you talked to the unusual man).
Perhaps the Patriarch’s statement could be interpreted in ways other than the obvious “my ethnicity and nationality are more important to me than my religion” but it does seem to indicate that sort of element within the Middle-Eastern heirarchy. If it is there, it does not make sense to deny it.

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B. August 2, 2006 at 9:12 pm

Jimmy, I commend you for a well-balanced, well-considered and virtuous attitude here.

Jason August 2, 2006 at 9:12 pm

Good post, Jimmy, although I disagree strongly with your conclusion that his treatment of Caiphas was anti-Semtitic in origin. Caiphas was not a pagan ruler, he was a High Priest of Israel. Of course his sin against Christ is going to be seen more harshly, because he should have known better. Pilate was acting for political reasons. Caiphas was acting for religious reasons, failing to welcome the time of Israel’s visitation. In the same way, if someone were to make a film about a licentious Pope, I would hope we held him to a higher judgemente in history than some pagan ruler who doesn’t know any better.
I will never understand why the film should be criticized for presenting hostile Jews. Those were the times. It’s like criticizing the Church for reading the harsh denunciations of the prophets against Israel at Mass. If you make a movie about Nazi Germany, you’re gonna have to present hostile Germans. If you make a movie about terrorism, you’re gonna have to present hostile Arabs. If we can’t depict history, then we mind as well give up art altogether.

Jason August 2, 2006 at 9:43 pm

Just to add this from John 11:
So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.” But one of them, Ca’iaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation,
and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death.
It’s interesting that they were talking about the Lord’s “signs”, and yet Caiphas, who apparantly had known of these “signs” just like everyone else, wanted to kill Jesus anyway.
Maybe a case can be made that Caiphas was also acting politically, for the protection of Israel from the Romans, but I find that hard to believe in context. How long had the Jews been waiting for a Messiah? The High Priest, of all people, was so blind to all these signs? It sounds like Caiphas was like the other self-righteous leaders who Jesus upbraided, whose power and ignorance made it impossible to accept these “signs” for what they were.
For Pilate, on the other hand, he was just a pagan ruler. Jesus was just another Jew among many. Although I guess Pilate had some fear that Jesus was one of the Gods made man, he was not part of God’s chosen people. Caiphas had the law and the prophets, and of course, the “signs”.

Jared Weber August 2, 2006 at 10:56 pm

JR Stoodley: Actually, to my knowledge, the Magisterium has ruled that SSPX Masses DO fulfill a Catholic’s Sunday obligation … so, in other words if Gibson was attending Mass by SSPX, it would fulfill his obligation. I don’t think the Sedevacantists’ Masses do, but, unless someone else here knows, I’ll do some research to find out.

JLO August 2, 2006 at 11:31 pm

Joe,
I think you misunderstood most of my post..after my example the first point I made related to my experience in working with mentally ill patients and clients…I was trying to convey (as succinctly as possible…so I apologize if I missed your street in my poll) the public’s general perception that normal “looking” people are exactly that…normal. Mentally troubled folks suffer a great deal as a result of this perception of normality, particularly in our legal system, and often have their behaviors perceived as wilful, intentional, and malicious, when in reality the person has no more control over his/her emotions, behaviors and speech than the priests and the sisters I mentioned in my above example. The case of Mr. Gibson is a perfect example. I don’t know your “street” as you point out, but I’m guessing unless you live alone on your street, you also know a few folks who blow off the mental illness thing as weakness, or would define it as a convenient excuse for intentionally poor behavior. It’s true I was a bit critical of Mr. Akin’s analysis, particularly toward the middle portion of his essay…but for the record, I like what he puts out the vast majority of the time, and was particularly impressed with the first few paragraphs of his article. I just think he strayed from the path a bit after that. You’ll notice Mr. Akin devotes some time to discussing bi-polar disease, but most importantly, the conclusions he draws, whether or not laced with exculpatory qualifiers, ignore his earlier mention of mental illness. In the end, as he concludes his remarks, he articulates how he’ll process future Mel Gibson information, through a filter designed around what would appear to be the analysis he shared with us today. Unfortunately absent though, are his earlier references to mental health factors relevant in diagnosing Mr. Gibson’s arrest behavior. I am concerned for Mr. Akin, insomuchas by ignoring his earlier discussion of mental health factors, he sets himself well on the way to judging Mr. Gibson more like Gibson’s just some wealthy Hollywood guy who had a few too many drinks, and less like Gibson’s a deeply troubled man, in desparate need of our prayers and support. I’m sorry if you disagree…Lastly you provide a good example of a person breaking another person’s property, and then running to you to ask for forgiveness. I guess the question you need to ask is why if Mr. Akin was not aggrieved by the actions of Mr. Gibson did he write his article today, addressing the nature and severity of Gibson’s comments, and how he’ll have to view them in the future. It appears he either feels he’s suffered some harm as a Christian by Gibson’s actions, or he feels he’s in a position to pass judgment on Mr. Gibson (and then does). And you rightly point out that Mr. Akin devotes some time to discussing who can grant or provide forgiveness…was he being challenged by someone about the matter, or as you suggest was he stating the obvious?…for no obvious reason? My bottom-line take is that Akin is a good guy who got a bit carried away with his analysis today…you’re certainly welcome to another opinion though…
Peace,
JLO

J.R. Stoodley August 3, 2006 at 12:05 am

Jared Weber,
I thought one could only fulfill one’s Sunday Obligation by attending a schismatic mass if it was impossible to get to a real Catholic mass. I believe the actual wordage is “physically or morally impossible” so there might be some leverage for those convinced that they have a moral responsibility to go to a traditional mass. This would probably be a venial sin in itself but the not knowingly skipping their Sunday obligation might prevent them from commiting a mortal sin in the whole matter.
In any case recieving communion in such a mass would be wrong. Plus Gibson is not only attending but arranging these illicit masses for himself.

Luke August 3, 2006 at 12:36 am

Heya team!
I was just about to post a question as to whether Mel Gibson was sedevacantist or not, but by the looks of the discussions no one really knows……
On a related topic, what’s the deal with Gerry Matatics! Why oh why would he do such a thing (ie become a sedevacantist)?!? I don’t suppose anyone knows if his old mate Scott Hahn has had anything to say on the matter? If so please direct me as to where I can find it.
BTW – Excellent post jimmy and extremely well balanced (Although I have to say I agree with Jason re pilate and Caiphas).

Jared Weber August 3, 2006 at 1:32 am

JR Stoodley: Um, actually, that’s not the verbiage I’ve read from Rev. Msgr. Camille Perl Secretary.
Here’s an excerpt from the Perl’s letter, found here ( http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/showresult.asp?RecNum=425686&Forums=0&Experts=0&Days=2005&Author=&Keyword=sunday+obligation&pgnu=2&groupnum=0&record_bookmark=62&ORDER_BY_TXT=ORDER+BY+ReplyDate+DESC&start_at= ):
“1. In the strict sense you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X.
“2. We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why. If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin. If your intention is simply to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin.”
So, as I said, SSPX Mass fulfills the Sunday obligation. Still looking into the sedevacantist question.
One more thing: a friend of mine goes to an indult Mass in Chicago under a priest who has some connection to Gibson’s priest (maybe his former priest now–I’m not sure). He stated that this priest (Gibson’s) was licitly (legally) incardinated under a bishop from Poland and was in full union with Rome, despite Card. Mahony’s assertions that Gibson was not Catholic. It’s all very confusing, and Card. Mahony hasn’t made it any easier by saying that Gibson “does not participate in any parish of this Archdiocese. He, apparently, has chosen to live apart from the communion of the Catholic Church. I pray for him.”
How, in an archdiocese as big as L.A., Mahony could possibly know that he “doesn’t participate” in any archdiocesan parish is beyond me. To say that he’s chosen to “live apart from the communion of the Catholic Church” is a bewildering statement as well. How could he possibly know this?

Jared Weber August 3, 2006 at 1:35 am

Crud.
Italics off.
That’s what I get for over-editting. I editted the italics end-marks right out. Sorry ’bout the long url too. Still not sure how to do that crazy link thing on this board.

karal August 3, 2006 at 3:53 am

I don’t think you need the local Bishop’s permission to have mass said in your home, ie Mel Gibson’s chapel. We have had many, many home masses said by friends (all priests!) and other visiting priests at our request… with others people in attendence – we have never sought permission and the priests have never mentioned the need for it. Perhaps as Mel is famous, the local Bishop has expressed his displeasure at the masses said at Mel’s home, but is he actually able to ban them? Also, is it legitimate for a Bishop to excommunicate a priest for saying mass in a private home?

Jeb Protestant August 3, 2006 at 4:04 am

Remember that during the time the Passion came out, Mel was attacked as anti-semite, the Jews said his film would incite violence, they called on the Catholic church to repudiate Mel, etc.
Now the guy gets drunk and starts shooting his mouth off about his enemies. Big deal.
I don’t condone his drunk driving or his belligerent behavior.

Phillip Rumore August 3, 2006 at 6:05 am

It is time for us to stop watching every move an actor makes. By their very profession you never will know the true person nor their sincerity through their words. They are ACTORS. How they live their lives are the fruit we should observe and I think mel’s fruit has a slight stench these days. But that ole’ Cast the first stone surely ain’t gonna be by me for Mel looks like a chior boy compared to my past.I pray for him and his family.

StubbleSpark August 3, 2006 at 7:15 am

“By their very profession you never will know the true person nor their sincerity through their words. They are ACTORS. ”
I suppose that might depend on how incarnational the art of actor in question is. If they are united to God in their performance, acting is a powerful tool for bringing deep truths to a wide group of people. It is not a deception, but a calculated unveiling of Divine Truth.
But yeah, most actors are liars by trade and by faith.

Mark August 3, 2006 at 7:17 am

“I don’t think you need the local Bishop’s permission to have mass said in your home, ie Mel Gibson’s chapel. We have had many, many home masses said by friends (all priests!) and other visiting priests at our request… ”
Karal, there is no such thing as a “private mass”. The Eucharistic celebration is public by nature and a priest is always subject to the jurisdiction of the local Ordinary. Normally, a priest would request faculties from the Ordinary to celebrate mass,hear confessions or perform the marriage rite.

Michael August 3, 2006 at 7:47 am

The Eucharistic celebration is public by nature
Don’t priests say private mass, even in solitude with no one else present, if they do not perform a public celebration?

Jason August 3, 2006 at 8:37 am

How they live their lives are the fruit we should observe and I think mel’s fruit has a slight stench these days.
Just a few weeks ago it was reported that he was donating money to help build homes in Mexico:
Mel Gibson, about to wrap up the filming of his Mayan epic, “Apocalypto,” in the jungles of Mexico’s Veracruz state, is donating money to build houses for poor people in the region.
The 50-year-old director-actor will donate the money through the Rotary Club and Mexico’s family welfare agency, government officials announced Thursday.
Officials said the donation will be used to construct homes for poor residents of the port city of Veracruz and the city of San Andres Tuxtla.

“Charity covers a multitude of sins.” –1Peter 4:8

Mark August 3, 2006 at 9:15 am

Can. 906 A priest may not celebrate the eucharistic Sacrifice without the participation of at least one of the faithful, unless there is a good and reasonable cause for doing so.
Even in the circumstance where “at least one of the faithful” cannot be present, the Mass retains its public character. The Mass is always the public prayer of the Church and not “Father’s private Mass” or “our private home Mass”.

witchunter August 3, 2006 at 9:16 am

1) The debate will go on endlessly about whether Gibson is a Catholic or a schismatic Catholic or whatever his religious affiliation is. Whatever he is, he has become the celebrity face of the Catholic Church, and he is a target for THAT reason more than anything else. He has given Church-haters all the ammunition they need and there will be no forgiveness for him, regardless of what he does. How many molesting priests and profligate bishops have ever said publicly that they are “deeply ashamed” like Mel did? At least he demonstrates a sense of shame–the rest of them are shameless.
2) For those who will never be satisfied that Mel is or is not a racist (or anti-Semite or what-have-you) let’s drop the pretense. Unless someone is some kind of extraordinary saint, EVERYONE has some kind of prejudice that they harbor. As much as the hate-crimes-loving thought police would like to change it, the thoughts we have are not necessarily sins, but how we act on those thoughts make the difference. We live in the midst of a hypocritical racial-grievance era when minority groups cry “foul” all of the time, when they are likely just as prejudiced against the majority (plug in whatever race or religious creed you like here). I am convinced that Cynthia McKinney probably hates white people as much as David Duke probably hates blacks. What they think and how they feel is not nearly as important to me as how they behave. Just once, I’d like to see a celebrity or public figure say something like, “You know what? I was raised to believe this about this group and I STILL have some of those feelings. I know those feelings are wrong, and even if I have them, this group is made in the image and likeness of God and I will never behave in a way to hurt or demean any member of this group.” But if someone was that honest, they’d be crucified in the media, because the rest of us would have to own up to our own bigotry, and keeping the phony game we’re playing now is too important. If we no longer needed an anti-defamation league or NAACP, a lot of grievance-mongers would be out of business and have to get a real job. Anyway, I think many of us would be better served by at least admitting to ourselves our own prejudices and struggling to never act on them and asking God to eliminate them rather than playing the stupid BS “I’m not prejudiced” game that is expected of us. 99% of all people are prejudiced. The other 1% are liars.

Jared Weber August 3, 2006 at 9:19 am

Hold on. Simply because a Mass is said in someone’s home doesn’t mean it’s private. I’ve heard of MANY times when Mass was said in someone’s home. (I’m told it gets requested a lot these days as a means of driving out evil presence that has attached itself to a home.) Also, in places and times when Christianity was/is an underground faith, private homes are/were the ONLY place that Mass happens.

Gene Branaman August 3, 2006 at 9:27 am

“By their very profession you never will know the true person nor their sincerity through their words. They are ACTORS. How they live their lives are the fruit we should observe and I think mel’s fruit has a slight stench these days.”
“But yeah, most actors are liars by trade and by faith.”
Phillip & StubbleSpark, I humbly beg to differ.
I was a professional actor for over 10 years & for 10 years before that on the high school, college & community level. I’ve worked for numerous nationally recognized theater festivals, mostly doing Shakespeare. I’ve known 100′s of actors in my life. The vast majority have been kind, sincere, loving, & generous people. With very few exception, they are folks who would drop everything to give you the shirt off their back. The have the ability to come together as a community for positive charitable causes (one I as a Catholic would whole-heartedly support, ones that do not promote the Culture of Death) in ways that would make the most motivated parish blush. The fruit they grew was out of kindness, love & compassion & that’s the fruit I’ll judge them by since I’ll not be their final Judge. I’ve only come across a literal handful of performers who could not be described this way. And guess what? They end up not working much!
Please, please, do not judge all actors by the excesses of the few Hollywood types who’ve bought into their own PR machine. While they may be all we see reported, they are most definitely not the typical example of a performing artist. The world we read about in People & US is not at all representative of what it’s really like out there in the trenches of day-to-day acting work. It’s mentally & physically exhausting work. For each play mounted, there are literally multiple 1000s of man hours of very hard, demanding work over a period of many months that went into that 3-hour experience we enjoy. And each one of those performers, directors, techs, etc are made in the image & likeness of God – just as we all have been.

Jared Weber August 3, 2006 at 9:59 am

As a midwest native working in the Los Angeles film industry, I can tell you that Gene’s sentiments tend to be mostly true about actors in the midwest, but that many entertainment types in L.A. tend to fit the mold of self-centered and manipulative. Not all. Maybe not even most. Maybe. But there are MANY who are.

Nihil August 3, 2006 at 11:18 am

This is the best article on the issue I’ve ever read.

Gene Branaman August 3, 2006 at 11:58 am

Jared, my experience is in stage, not film & TV. Stage (at least in the level I was at – LORT theaters), unlike film & TV, is not so focused on the talent in that they are not the “stars” of the show. I know of only 1 actor, who was horribly miscast in the lead role of Henry V, who was exactly as you describe – self-centered & manipulative. He was not liked by other actors. They were polite to him, for the most part, but it was clear that his antics were not acceptable. Others I’ve known were real egotistical jerks but at least they could back it up with strong performances. It’s much rarer to encounter the actors you must see on a daily basis in that level of theater. In my experience.
I’m not saying that actors are perfect. Frankly, many of the kindest & most sincere ones have worked with had some major issues (he said charitably). But most of them are more interested in the actual work of creating a character than they are being the self-centered manipulators you encounter.
BTW, I spent years in LA pounding pavement trying to break into film & TV. All my friends wondered why I kept taking theater jobs out of LA & out of state. Finally I realized that I was so turned off by the attitude that you describe, Jared, that I took the other jobs to get away from it. That’s when/why I moved from LA.

Jared Weber August 3, 2006 at 12:17 pm

Gene: I definitely see your point re: stage vs. film actors. There’s just not a whole lot of serious theatre in L.A.
As far as the rest of it goes … Tell me about it. It seems as though many in the Hollywood strain of the biz treat you nice only if A: they believe you can do something to further their careers or B: they’re afraid you might do them harm. Just not a good way of living your life, by any standard.
The whole situation makes me and my wife long to return to the midwest, but I know that, for whatever reason, God wants us here for now.
Anyway, I’ve wandered far from the topic at hand. Sorry, everybody.

Gene Branaman August 3, 2006 at 2:05 pm

You’ve nailed it, Jared.
To swing this back OT (I had a major hand in that, too). . .
It just seems to me that, in Gibson’s case, the work he’s produced since he first returned to faith (per the EWTN interview with Ray Arroyo a few years back Gibson returned to faith after much substance abuse, etc in the early 1990s), he’s made many films that have solid moral messages & often have a Christian element to them. It’s well known that he’s quite charitable.
But I think we all know that the entertainment industry is a hotbed for Satan & his minions, don’t we? There are temptations that can be found there with far more frequency than in many other professions. Can someone who’s sincerely trying to live their faith stay totally unchanged in some way by the Hollywood machine Jared has experienced? I’m not so sure even the most grounded, committed Christian would be able to. When one runs with the wolves one can be more susceptible to becomming one of them. That’s why I admire Barbara Nicolosi at Act One so much – she sees this stuff first hand, too, & still leads the charge to get Christians to infiltrate the business. I have no idea how she stays so positive & focused! But Satan knows what he’s doing. Like someone said, I think, over at Mark Shea’s blog, “I’m so glad I’m not famous!”

Jared Weber August 3, 2006 at 3:52 pm

Gene, you wrote: “I’m not so sure even the most grounded, committed Christian would be able to.” You may be right on this. I pray that you’re wrong every day. I know that I myself have changed slightly in the past three years since I moved here … I hope not completely for the worse. I can only imagine what crosses Gibson has had to bear.
Keep in mind, too, that he came into this business with no firm understanding of the truth. It was only AFTER his “rise to fame” that he became committed to the truth. That’s got to be a difficult battle, to have to hack through the Enemy’s wilderness to get back to the fortress of the Faith of your youth. And Heaven only knows what strange fascinations the darkened heath without might hold for a man who has experienced it as Gibson has. It must be a constant struggle.
But, though the Enemy won this one, his days are numbered. Even Hollywood can be snatched from his claws. There are rumblings deep within this community–the tremors of change, of rebirth. And there are others–Nicolosi and her apprentices and others besides–warriors who knew they would be in for a battle before they answered the call to enter this zone.
It’s only a matter of time.

bill912 August 3, 2006 at 4:01 pm

I like your attitude Jared.
“Never give up; it ain’t over till it’s over”.–Dr. Lawrence Peter Berra, great American philosopher and Honorary Doctor of Letters.
“But though the Enemy won this one, his days are numbered.”
Amen

bluto August 3, 2006 at 6:12 pm

I just have to point out, after reading the post the following things.
Bipolar disorder comes in types. Refer to WebMD to see Bipolar Type I, Type II, etc.
It will probably be a real eye opener to some out there to find out that Type II bipolar disorder was/is also know by the name of “manic depression”.
May also be of interest to some to understand that bipolar disorder runs in families. Again, I would refer the info on WebMD as opposed to the shorter info on Wikipedia.
I have no clue as to the truth of Mr. Gibson having bipolar disorder. However it is doubtful that many of us do NOT know a person with one degree or another of this disorder as it is very common…especially in the art communities. It is has been well documented that people of artistic nature (actors, musicians, writers, etc) are somewhat prone to this disorder.
Just thought that may be of some interest to folks out there.
After all…people who suffer with this illness also read blogs such as this one (-:

karal August 3, 2006 at 7:21 pm

Re: “private mass” – I used the word “private” when I should have used the term “in a private home”. Still, if a priest has permission to say mass, hear confession, etc. then he may say mass at people’s homes without asking for specific permission to say “that” mass “that” day in “that” home… Further, wouldn’t that be the case with the chapel in Mel’s home?

Matt C. Abbott August 3, 2006 at 8:43 pm

Good post, Jimmy.

Alois August 3, 2006 at 9:43 pm

Here’s a good post by Alvin Kimel on this subject:
http://catholica.pontifications.net/?p=1892

Lily August 4, 2006 at 5:36 am

I have known a number of alcoholics in my lifetime; they can be totally different people when they are drinking, as opposed to when they are sober. I had known of MG’s alcoholism for some time, & when this all happened, I began to pray for him, & for his family, because it is all too familiar a :-( picture…and too often, the person ends up dead from an overdose, an accident, suicide, or just the body gives out from years of abuse….
That he may also be bipolar…This I did not know, but having had at least one friend who is so, I now wonder how I could have missed it. Because my friend (let us say “P”) has exhibited many of the same actions as MG….Most notable: All I can say is that if you have never heard a bipolar sufferer on a rant (because of being off proper meds), you never want to….
I have heard of gov’t conspiracies to poison us all; of supposed gross immorality on the part of people who were, “P” thought, “out to destroy his life”.
I have seen a grown man shouting at his long-dead father, as though he were in the room, alleging all manner of demented ramblings, ending with a claim that it was “all [the father's] fault that I don’t have a job, because I should have studied technology”.
Of course, this was all finding a scapegoat, rather than admit he was ill.
It sounds very much, in fact, like Mel Gibson…and “P” was not even drunk, which had to make things worse!!
I am praying for Mel & for his family, especially for his wife, who has thus far remained at his side, regardless of his various problems. I will continue to do so, & I hope that others will, as well.

whimsy August 4, 2006 at 5:51 am

Gibson — and his collaborators on the project — “strayed from the script” when they gave Pilate such extended introspection. It seems to me that in addition to Pilate really thinking this prisoner was innocent, by dragging his feet in the decision, he had the added benefit of yanking the chain of the High Priest. But, as soon as he got the slightest whiff that he would be reprimanded by their tattling, he caved.
It would seem that the writers stuck more closely to “the script” in the case of the High Priest. So, it is absurd to conclude that “I suspected Gibson’s anti-Semitism tainted the movie” without going back to that old saw that the Gospels themselves are tainted by anti-Semitism.
On the contrary, I see Gibson’s attempt to have the audience, in this milieu of relativity, “relate” more to the Gospels by inserting a non-Scriptural riff that Pilate takes on “what is Truth?”
With the exception of Mother Teresa, the only real examples the popular culture gives us of a single-minded purposeness are the perpatrators of abortion and terrorism. Outside of Christian circles, it seems we are stuck in a quagmire of lost principles and relativity.
This movie juxtaposes the fixed purpose of Our Lord doing the will of His Father against the weakness of Pilate in the scene between the two of them. That’s what we need more of in this world.
Whimsy

joe August 4, 2006 at 7:07 am

JLO,
I think you misunderstood most of my post..
No, I did understand most of your post. Funny thing, I actually agree that many people I’ve met can’t with their senses verify mental illness very easily, therefore, it’s easier to dismiss it.I was simply trying to point out that while you were criticizing someone, you were painting with a rather broad brush buy saying it was hard for all good Christians. As an aside, I think a good chunk of people today are affected in a personal way by mental illness, as demonstrated on this blog. Personally, I had a dad who every month or so would find himself in MHI- of course sometimes that was after he chose to wake up the whole family at around 3am to “bring court to order” in the family room.I only bring this up to point out that for many good Christians it’s less hard to understand the affects of mental illness without having to touch or smell its existence.
I am concerned for Mr. Akin, insomuchas by ignoring his earlier discussion of mental health factors, he sets himself well on the way to judging Mr. Gibson more like Gibson’s just some wealthy Hollywood guy who had a few too many drinks..
I see. I just got a bit turned off with how you conveyed your option #3. Particulary, with the first and last portions of that segment. And your conclusion of blah, blah, blah, seemed to eradicate any gentleness that the “I respectfully ask you..” part conveyed. To be honest, I found the ‘blahs,’ the rudest thing in your post.
I’m sorry if I was at all rash in my last post. Just don’t like to see people getting the pro-verbial “stomach punch” for sharing their personal opinions. Hubris should stay out of critiques of critiques as well.

Gene Branaman August 4, 2006 at 9:09 am

Yes, Jared, I agree 100%. I did not, BTW, mean to imply anything about you or your walk with Christ in my post. I don’t think I did but I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. I just meant to comment on my experience. I was not practicing when I lived in LA &, looking back, I’ve often thought how difficult it would be to have remained in LA after my reconversion – based on my personal experiences, I’m not at all sure my faith wouldn’t have been compromised. So I can very much sympathize with Gibson’s situation. Thanks be to God that He steered me in a different direction for a while!
You folks in the trenches down there have my total respect! If I were in a different situation, I’d be there with you. You’re all in my prayers!

Tim J. August 4, 2006 at 9:26 am

I have known people who suffered with paranoid delusions and whose strong Christian faith became a part of those delusions. It was sad and frightening to see.
I have also personally (in my youth) been so drunk that I said things that, when they were reported to me later, I refused to believe I had said.
The possibility of having both of these things operating at once, or even some weaker version of both, makes it imperative that we give Mel Gibson the benefit of the doubt in regard to his apologies and repentence.
I do pray that this episode may play some role in bringing him back into full communion with the Church.

Honora August 4, 2006 at 10:17 am

Gosh, one would have to think from this thread that any one of us is actually better than Mel Gibson. Those of you still holding stones and hanging around for action, could I please see the Criteria Sheet..

Double Delta August 4, 2006 at 11:21 am

I, for one, don’t think I am better than Mel Gibson, for my age.
Tim J., your optimism is healthy, but I doubt that it will bring him nearer to the Church. However, unless something really drastic (spiritually or physically) occurs in the course of this controversy, it’s unlikely.
From what Akin said about Caiphas’ portrayal, I think Gibson was inclined to anti-Semitism.
Anyhow, just pray for him. That alone will have effect.
It will have more effect than this post, anyhow.
Double Delta

Lily August 4, 2006 at 5:20 pm

No stones coming from this direction.
I sat down not so many months ago, at an inner urging, & wrote down all the sins I could remember having committed in my lifetime…When I got to :-0 20 pages (regular size notebook paper, college ruled, both sides), I concluded that I needed to spend less time judging, & more time praying.
I recommend it to all, as an interesting–and overwhelming– reality check. If I hadn’t all ready been aware that I was in need of the Saviour, that alone would have convinced me. Fast.

Ben Douglass August 4, 2006 at 6:42 pm

The report mentioned Gibson blaming the Jews for all the wars in the world. I think this can provide an interpretive key to Gibson’s words. When one is intoxicated he loses the faculty of reason. He can be overpowered by strong emotions. Thus, it is easy to see how one who has just seen:
(1) Pictures of Jewish girls signing missles with “love from Israel”
(2) Charred bodies of Lebanese children
(3) Lebanon’s infrastructure destroyed, hundreds of thousands made homeless, lacking food and water
(4) The Israeli justice minister labelling everyone in Southern Lebanon as a target
having lost the faculty of reason, could jump from the perfectly legitimate position of righteous anger against Israel and its supporters, both Jew and Gentile, to an irrational tirade against all Jews. God forbid that I ever become intoxicated; I might say the exact same things as Gibson.

bill912 August 4, 2006 at 7:01 pm

I see it so much, yet I’m still amazed how those who hate can’t help but express it. Even when sober. Even when it has nothing to do with the discussion.

Ben Douglass August 4, 2006 at 7:19 pm

Bill,
If you are referring to me, where have I expressed hate? I explicitly said that hating Jews is irrational. Granted, I hold Israel’s current actions in Lebanon to be deplorable. I also hold America’s actions in Iraq to be deplorable, but that doesn’t mean I hate Americans (I am one). I detest our bombing of Heroshima and Nagasaki with every fiber of my being, but again, I don’t hate Americans.
It is legitimate, even necessary, to have a motion of ire in the sensetive appetite towards sin, when one sees it (Summa Theologiae, II, II, q. 158, art. 8). But passion must be subjected to reason, for if we lose the faculty of reason our passions will run wild, and we can end up saying and doing all sorts of crazy things. Hence Gibson’s tirade.

Ben Douglass August 4, 2006 at 7:32 pm

It is the result of the fall of our first parents that so often, when we see things that merit ighteous indignation, we are tempted to sins of anger. Alcohol brings to consummation what began in the garden.

Mark August 4, 2006 at 7:38 pm

Ben,
You’re consciously or unconsciously presenting one part of the scene, thus distorting the whole picture. Your points 1-4 can easily be countered with particular actions of the extreme terrorist group Hezbolla. If you’re going to quote St. Thomas you might as well understand that Thomas’ method was dialogical in that he always presented BOTH sides of the issue.
I think you may be PROJECTING a little. I doubt that Mel is too disturbed by the fact that the nation of Israel is defending herself in the face of those who wish to annihilate her citizens.

Ben Douglass August 4, 2006 at 7:52 pm

Mark,
I know that Hezbollah has committed many crimes against Israel. Israel has a right to try to destroy Hezbollah. What I am opposed to is the way Israel targets civilian infrastructure, the way its leaders claim all civilians in Southern Lebanon as legitimate targets, and in general the way it is destroying the country and killing hundreds who are in no way connected with Hezbollah.
The fact is, Mel blamed the Jews for all the wars in the world. It seems logical to infer, given what’s all over the news these days, that Israel’s current actions in Lebanon were on his mind.

Anonymous August 4, 2006 at 8:27 pm

What Mel did is just not that big of a deal.
He should not be drinking and driving, it is dangerous and negligent and could kill or injure someone. But people do it all the time from the blue collar guy down the block to Lindsey Lohan.
Mel said some stupid, ignorant comments about Jews, saying they started wars, that the officer was a Jew at least in question form, and made a comment about another officers tits.
This is bad but is it worse than other actors, directors or other people.
NO
this is blown Wayyyyyyyy out of proportion and YES it is blown out of proportion (call me a conspiracist and anti-semite) by JEWS
who hate Mel and hate the Passion
This is just not the biggest news story
and all this armchair psychology and spiritual guidance on the man is too much
trying to analyze him from the little we know
ridiculous

Puzzled August 4, 2006 at 8:59 pm

ACA – Ancient Central America. On the spot coinage in the mold of ANE for Ancient Near-East.
JR Stoodley, read Josephus on Caiaphas and his family. Gibson seems reasonable on that historical, Jewish, basis.
Alois
I -watched- the episode. I did not make an ignorant comment. Both of them were making anti-semitic statements, The Eparch in particular was taking the side of Hizbullah, and the Bishop didn’t seem to think that Israel had the right to defend themselves, being Jews, were supposed to just fire one missile back for every missile fired at them, instead of -putting an end to the attacks by defeating the genocidal enemy- which is NOT disproportionate as I understand Just War.
Mark I worked for a guy (unfortunately unlike his family, something of a shyster) who had a private eucharistic adoration chapel. When I was delerious with what was probably West Nile while staining his decks, I found it comforting, but couldn’t help wondering if it was licit. Was it?
Ben, that infrastructure is the means by which Syria and Iran are supplying Hizbullah with war materials. That makes them legitimate and necessary military targets.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Hizbullah would for once target a military target?
Hizbullah is using human shields, which is a violation of international law, as a means of getting the MSM and people like yourselves to hate the Jews even more than they already do. It isn’t Israel’s fault. What? Is Israel supposed to just sit there and take being anhilated because some anti-Semites distort just war theory?

J.R. Stoodley August 4, 2006 at 9:06 pm

I for one don’t see Ben Douglas’s posts eminating any kind of hatred. I too have assumed Mel Gibson’s statement about Jews causeing all the wars in the world was derrived from this terrible conflict with Lebanon, as well as perhaps the destabilizing effect Israel has inadvertantly had on the whole region.
There is also nothing wrong with having a passion for peace and wishing other nations (and our own) practiced more proportionality when pursueing just causes.
To the last noname poster, what Mel Gibson did is really bad. He endangered his life and others by driving drunk and recklessly and he said dispicable things, as he himself admits and keeps apologizing for. Perhaps the secular media is focusing on this more than they should and certainly some of the short sound bites I have heared have been misleading, but that does not mean we should dismiss what he did as unimportant.

Ben Douglass August 4, 2006 at 9:13 pm

Puzzled,
Do Iran and Syria use Lebanese power plants as a means of supplying Israel?

J.R. Stoodley August 4, 2006 at 9:16 pm

Puzzled,
People like myself or Ben who believe Israel is waging a disproportunate war do not necessarily hate Jews or disagree with every aspect of the conflict. They certainly do not necessarily think Israel should be anhilated. You are jumping to conclusions because someone has a different take than you on some of the Israeli attacks. I for one, for example, do not think attacking roads, anything on certain roads after ordering civilians in the area to flee north, airports, seaports, and civilian foodstores are worth the harm it does to Hezbolla. That does not make me an anti-Semite or mean I think Israel should not defend itself against terrorists.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) August 5, 2006 at 7:10 am

>The fact is, Mel blamed the Jews for all the wars in the world. It seems logical to infer, given what’s all over the news these days, that Israel’s current actions in Lebanon were on his mind.
I reply: You make jaw dropping remarks like THE ABOVE Douglass then you act suprised when Mark Shea bans your from his blog for being a crank.
Only a member of CAI would defend bigoted remarks Mel HIMSELF has repudiated as indefensible. Your a sad person Douglass. Your “Ministry’s” reputation for being anti-Semitic is clearly well deserved.

Brent Robbins August 5, 2006 at 7:41 am

Who cares about Mel Gibson? He didn’t even say anything that bad. Leave him alone. Not news-worthy.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) August 5, 2006 at 7:51 am

Unbelievable!

Alois August 5, 2006 at 8:53 am

I don’t want to further derail this discussion on Mel Gibson, but I must address this barrage of calumny. It is beyond me how these charges of anti-semitism are being pulled out of some of these comments.
Puzzled, I suggest you watch the episode again. Both bishops made comments that were critical of both sides. There is no doubt that Eparch Bustros was more critical of Israel, most likely because he is Lebanese and still has family there. He also addressed the reasons Hezbollah became powerful in Lebanon, and I can reassure you, he is no fan of Hezbollah. Unfortunately, this is the pickle Lebanese Christians are placed in. But let me ask you, does this make him an anti-Semite? Does being critical of Israel make one an anti-Semite? Does being critical of China make on anti-Buddhist? Does being critical of Iran make one anti-Muslim?
And Ben Yachov, I don’t know how Ben Douglass’ relationship with Mark Shea’s blog addresses the comments that he posted in this thread. I also fail to see what is jaw dropping about it. It is a logical look into Mel Gibson’s thought process, as warped as it is. The fact remains, Israel, a Jewish state, is at war with Lebanon. To a bigot, this is justification for comdeming a whole religion. Let me make myself clear:** IT IS COMPLETELY WRONG TO DO SO** However, can you really not understand how someone like Mel Gibson would use current events to make the comments he did?
In conclusion, please stop charging people with anti-Semitism unless they’ve flat-out, unequivocally expressed it. And I’m not saying that to scold people, but as a reminder that we, as Christians, are called to be charitable to one another.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) August 5, 2006 at 9:21 am

>I also fail to see what is jaw dropping about it. It is a logical look into Mel Gibson’s thought process, as warped as it is.
I reply: you are correct Alois. I guess I jumped the gun. I apologize to Douglass for making this specific accusation.
(Of course it goes without saying my opinion of him and his ministry still remains at an all time low and course he & I both know why.)

Alois August 5, 2006 at 9:35 am

< >
Happens to the best of us ;)

David B. August 5, 2006 at 11:48 am

It amazes me that so much time is wasted talking about this strange man. I think most of you have lives, so go outside and play with your kids before they grow up!

Jared Weber August 5, 2006 at 12:24 pm

Italics off.
Gene: If you’re still reading, I took no offense at your statement and never thought it was directed at me, to begin so … no sweat there.
As far as the trenches … I didn’t see any trenches. Who’s got a trench? I thought we ALL out in the open air with big gold and white (like the Vatican flag, get it? Ah? Ah???) targets on our chests.
Looks to me like someone put one on Mel’s back, too.

Kevin August 7, 2006 at 11:24 am

Why does all this remind me of A Merchant of Venice? By the was Shakespeare was really writing on the Protestant/Catholic interactions of his time.
There has been a mel witchhunt for awhile now nevermind Mel’s state of mind. Intelligent minds understand this

Tim August 7, 2006 at 2:46 pm

I don’t about this one Jimmy. I find it interesting that only 1 (or so) commenters and no Jimmy Akinses have given thought to Mel’s comments being related to what is going on in the Middle East right now, sadly sick though the utterances may have been.
I also find it interesting that Jimmy finds time to post about Mel, but no time to post about the Pope begging the combatants (one of which tends to be Jewish) to stop the violence in the Middle East right now! . . . not when the right people get involved involved in the peace process, not when the right people get released from prison or when the right people get bombed to smithereens.

Tim August 7, 2006 at 2:49 pm

OOOPS! I take back the first part of my comment about other commenters not mentioning the Lebanon situation. But I’ll stick the ones about Jimmy.

chutney August 7, 2006 at 9:10 pm

Let me make sure I’ve got all this straight…
When y’all are not letting him off with the “he’s a good guy at heart” excuse, you’re letting him off by blaming it on the alcoholism or bipolar.
Or, that he was just venting about earlier, unjust allegations of anti-Semitism, which have apparently turned him into an anti-Semite. Or that he was providing witty commentary on the current Israel-Hezbollah conflict.
And, in any case, no one should throw stones at Mel because judge not and all that. It’s not his fault that he hates Jews.
If Mel’s bipolar and alcoholism lead him to beat his kids, will your reaction be the same? What if he’d talked about African-Americans instead of Jews? Or is it not sin if you make “movies with a strong moral message?”
But, please, far be it from me to throw stones. I wouldn’t want anyone to have to take their Braveheart poster off the wall.

Jared Weber August 8, 2006 at 10:47 am

Chutney: There’s a huge difference between making some (albeit nasty and uncalled for) statements while under the influence and beating a child. If you don’t see that, I don’t know if anyone can explain it to you.

Kevin August 9, 2006 at 6:40 am

I really wish the Catholic Defence League was as well positioned as the Jewish World Congress. Perhaps than the American movie and film industry would be dealt with in the same way as Mel for its outlandish productions full of bigotry towards Catholics, the Catholic Church and Catholicism in general. Perhaps also it would have the resources and influence to educate and/or silence the hacks like chutney. Any options on the cause to prevent unity of Western Christianity?

Brent September 4, 2006 at 11:10 am

The Talmad says to truly know a person know what he says when angry, drunk, and what he spends his money on. According to Rabbi Schumley Boteach, all three indices point to Gibson having an animus towards Jews. May G-d give him the courage and strength to overcome his defect.
http://www.shmuley.com/articles.php?id=302

Brother Cadfael September 4, 2006 at 11:47 am

Brent,
I will not argue with you about what the Talmud says (I am quite ignorant on that topic), and I will not spend my time speculating on whether or not Gibson is anti-Semitic. But the argument that The Passion of the Christ was somehow an anti-Semitic crusade is tired, wrong and just plain indefensible. That leg of your three-legged stool is simply and positively broken.

Anonymous September 4, 2006 at 1:56 pm

Mel is a good guy. Leave him alone.
The Talmud is a disgusting anti-Chrisitan, anti-human being text.

J.R. Stoodley September 4, 2006 at 4:43 pm

It seems to me that what Brent says the Talmud teaches reflects the idea that when a person is most out of control (angry or drunk) then they show their true character. I doubt this, especially in the case of a bipolar person. When people are in such unusual states they will say and do things they would never have dreemed of saying and doing normally, and this could mean showing a person very different than who they really are.
What they spend their money on is a better criterion, but I can’t think of anything I know of that Mel Gibson has spent money on that could be called anti-Semitic. For instance I can not think of any anti-Semitic movie.
On the other hand, he recently produced a very pro-Jewish movie, The Passion of the Christ. Jesus and his disciples (all Jewish of course) were portrayed as very Jewish-looking (of course any portrayal of an ethnicity must work from steriotypes but I see nothing wrong with that as long as it goes no further than would be expected in real life), cast a non-Christian Jew as Jesus’ mother Mary (who played the most important roal in the movie besides Jesus himself) he even (and maybe he was going too far in his anti-anti-Semitism here) altered the meeting of the Sanhedrin to reflect better on the Jews.
Yes, most of the bad guys were Jews too, but that is just the way the story goes. To turn Caiaphas into some sort misunderstood nice guy would have been changing the story way too much. Enough (or more than enough) to make it only a small part of the Sanhedrin instead of the whole thing that met and to portray (with no biblical evidence) them as throwing out any among them who disagreed with the trial.
No, I have yet to see any evidence that Mel Gibson is anti-Semitic, besides these dumb comments comming from him when he was apparently in a state of essentially suicidal drunken insanity.

J.R. Stoodley September 4, 2006 at 4:51 pm

A few side comments,
First, I saw an episode of Sunday Night Live with Father Benedict Groeshel resently in which Father Benedict (a licensed psycologist besides a priest) sayed that the one kind of person for whom the Alcoholics Anonymous program does not work is bipolar people. The NEED medication, and AA altered their original rules about no medication when this fact became clear.
The problem is as has been pointed out above if I recall, many bipolar people refuse to be medicated because it makes the “feel wrong” or they feel their highs and lows are a part of their personality and can’t stand always being in the middle.
Also I wonder if such medication would kill Mel Gibson’s artistic creativity, if indeed it does come significantly from this condition.
Separately, on the Talmud, from what I have read about it, it is extremely long (published in volumes) and most of the material sounds extremely dry, so no wonder almost no one seems to know first-hand what it really says.

Trevor Grosso September 9, 2006 at 8:08 am

HelIo…
I was just reading some things on your blog. I am 57 years old an American living in Bangkok now.
My son Taylor Mathew Grosso was bipolar as I am and he died by taking his life over three years ago. My medication is Lamectil and Effexor 150 ER and I have been taking that for about five years.
I have spent a lifetime seeking help for my illness as well as my sons. My son showed his first symptoms at age 14 and dies at age 22. My symptoms have been with me from childhood.
When my son died I lost myself, my family and my business that I had for thirty years. I live a very desolate life now filled with rapid cycling mostly depression and total hopelessness.
I haven’t the courage of my son and have not been able to act on my constant thoughts of suicide that I have had all my life. Now I just pray for death each day by any means.
This is truly a life not worth living and anyone who feels like I do should not be discouraged from taking their life they will be much better off no matter what awaits us in the next world if there is one.
The meds have no effect other than horrible side effects and addiction to them. I have spent a huge amount of money and time all my life going to Doctors of every kind, healers, fakes and frauds or anyone with promises of help and have never found any.
I have posted a remembrance of my son Taylor Mathew Grosso on the bipolar dream world website I will send the link to you for it and the posting for my son. My is life horrible, terrifying, filled with horrendous nightmares every time I close my eyes, I only sleep two hours at a time around the clock and most days can barley move or do anything and stay house bound day after day.
I was a very successful, powerful and dynamic person from age 20 until my son died three years ago. Although at the same time I led a tortured existence during all those years mostly from mania and less often but crushing depressions.
Why I cannot end this insane miserable existence is beyond me I pray but I doubt a have any real faith or feel any connection to God or his son and their cronies. I cry and scream and wretch often and curse the day I was born under a bad sign and start crossed. I have asked why so often I am sick of asking.
Sometimes the anger is overwhelming and I curse God and the universe as I scream and cry. I have no advice for anyone with this illness I have studied it all my life and see there is no hope at least not for me.
My dream is to one day hopefully soon to have the courage of my son and end this insanity. We (bipolar people) have become a cliché and the butt of jokes and to be scorned, misunderstood and made fun of and ridiculed and never given any quarter.
We even have the privilege of being part of the pop language with “He must be of his meds” to be used as a joke or for scorn. No one understands us not even our family or closest loved ones of friends. We are constantly told to go ahead and kill yourself I am sick of hearing it, snap out of it, get help, stop complaining, I don’t understand it, go exercise, see more doctors, find the right “Med cocktail for you” and on and on and on….
Here is the Remembrance about my son with a link to the bipolar remembrance website. I have no idea why I wrote this letter to you.
Trevor
http://books.dreambook.com/collie1/main3.html
In Memory of:: Taylor Mathew Grosso
Your Name: Trevor Grosso
Relationship: Father
Memoriam: This is the hardest thing I have ever written in my life. My son was only twenty two when he died, he took his life and he was bi-polar.
Taylor was the sweetest most gentile loving son a man could ever ask for. Sadly I did not realize how fragile he also was.
I am also bi-polar and have been all my life and I’m sure that took its toll on my son. Why I am still here is such a mystery to me.
Taylor never had a chance to find the love of a woman or have a family or even a life. I have asked God so many times, why?
Taylor was such a sweet loving child and a wonderful protective brother to his sister. He loved his sister from the day she was born until the day he died.
He was so intelligent and inquisitive and full of wonderment at so many things in life. Unlike me Taylor wanted to live so badly and to be normal and have a life and be able to have friends. He didn’t get to have those things but he fought and struggled so bravely without complaining. He was a far better man than his father.
He believed in God and the only thing with him when he died was a bible I had given him. The pain I had to see my son go though for seven years was unspeakable and to this day I am so sad and grief stricken about it there are no words.
He died three years ago and I still cannot really accept it. Oh God how I wished I could have been a normal father, I did the best I could and it was not good enough to save my son.
He was so beautiful in every way. When he was a baby a child and a young man he so loving and thoughtful I can’t take it out of my mind.
I remember over and over every little thing Taylor ever did and said and every precious moment I had with him.
The last time I saw my son I took him out to help him buy a car and shop for some cloths for him to have when he was at college, we had a wonderful day. I never saw him again and I wonder if I told him that day how much I love him.
He was everything in this life to me and I did tell him many times how much I loved him and when he was a baby and would catch me staring at him all the time he would be embarrassed and complain to me and say Daddy “stop looking at me” and I would tell him “I can’t because you are so beautiful” and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have you then I always said ” I am the luckiest Daddy in the world” and then we would laugh about it.
Then I would say who is the best Daddy in the whole world and he would pretend to think about it until I tickled him and then he would say “You are”.
Sometimes when I was away I would come home and say does anybody in this house love Daddy and he and his sister would be silent and tease me and we laughed and they would tackle me and I would say help, help Mommy they got me down and I can’t move.
I will never have those days and that love or those feelings again. I can’t even say what I feel like inside, I am hear to honor my son and tell you how much I miss him and feel like the grief will never leave me and I don’t really want it to.
I will cry for the rest of my life and do it proudly and I talk to Taylor every day and tell him how much I love him and miss him.
The family is not together any longer and I am alone with only the thoughts of the love I have for my son. I pray for Taylor every day and the only prayer I have for me is that I will be with Taylor when my time is done here.
If only you could have known him your life would be richer as mine is for having him. I hope God and Taylor can forgive me for not being there for my son as much as I should have then I can be at peace.
I hope Taylor will forgive me for my short comings due to my illness. If he does he will be the only one who does.
I am still so grateful and honored to have had Taylor in my life for the years he was with me and I pray he loves me now as he did all his life.
We used to laugh and call ourselves the Bi-Polar Bears and it would make him smile. One day I will write a book about Taylor and I and it will be called “The Bi-Polar Bears” in honor of my son and I hope it will help someone out there to deal with this terrible illness Taylor and I both have had to live with.
This is in loving memory of my beloved beautiful son.
Taylor Mathew Grosso
Sunday, March 5th 2006 – 09:59:01 AM

JH September 9, 2006 at 8:57 am

Trevor,
My heart grieves for you and the loss of your son. I am also bipolar and on medication, and I’m doing well, but I have not had anywhere near the amount of grief you have had to deal with. Please keep praying, as I will pray for you, and LOOK FOR HELP! It sounds like you could benefit from professional counseling. Your life is worth living.
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, http://www.dbsalliance.org/, is a place to start.
God bless,
JH

bill912 September 9, 2006 at 10:46 am

Trevor, I’m with JH and just prayed for you. I will continue to do so, as I know many who will read your words will do. You are sharing in the Cross of Christ much more intimately than most of us ever will. Something I do when suffering the Dark Night of the Soul, as when my mother and aunt were killed in a car accident, is to look at a crucifix and remember that Jesus suffered that torture for me and that he now suffers through me, as he now suffers through you. Hang in there, and let us know how you are doing.

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James N. Hendershot December 22, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Trevor,
This is James ;The one that once worked for you.
I have,and still do pray for You,Taylor,Renee and the rest of the family.
I had irrevocably had an episode toward the end of our last vocal encounter
I apologize for that.
You had even gone through the trouble to send me a kit(of product) to do what I had pledged to do.
I’m very aware many moons have passed since my Tangental-behavior.
I’m inexorably compelled to apologize,due to my guilty-conscienced/autonomous nature.
I hope blessings in you and your fanilies’ lives are exoponential.
God bless!
And I hope to speak with you again,one day.
Truely your,
James Neal Hendershot.

Julia Schulmann January 4, 2008 at 2:18 am

Trevor, I don’t know if you remember me. My name is Julia Schulmann. I was Taylor’s best friend, the one who went to see him twice in Seattle, the girl he came to visit when he was on leave from Korea, back in 2000 when I was a freshman at UC Berkeley. I briefly tutored Jenny in math. The majority of the 6 years that Taylor and I were friends he was living either with Uncle Brent in PB, Uncle Mel, or in Bellevue.
Taylor and I stopped speaking after his first suicide attempt March 14, 2002. I was the last person to speak to him then. I was trying to comfort him for 6 hours, and I had to leave to take a midterm. He told me that Renee was on her way from Newport Beach to be with him. That turned out not to be the case.
Taylor and I did everything together, from our wild LSD trip on the Crystal Pier (where our names are carved into the pier) to trips to see that kook Patrick the healer, to hanging out in Seattle.
I would like to speak with you. My e-mail address is juliasede77@hotmail.com. I live in Berkeley, but my cell phone number is (858) 229-6844.

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