I am sick at heart about the hypocrisy we find all around us. It is no wonder that good people feel discouraged in the Church. Today’s headline was like a punch in the stomach: MEL GIBSON’S GIRLFRIEND IS PREGNANT! What? I was still lamenting his wife’s decision to divorce him.
A few years ago the conservative voices in the Church fell over themselves trying to make an apologia for Mel Gibson’s breakaway “traditionalist” Catholicism. Much was made of the fact that an approved priest offered the Tridentine Mass for Gibson and his associates while they filmed his movie about Christ in Italy. He was even interviewed very “gingerly” on EWTN. Many claimed that it was the fault of liberals and aberrational practices in the post-Vatican II Church which had estranged him. His PASSION OF THE CHRIST was reviled by some and praised by others. Purportedly the late Pope remarked about the movie portrayal: “It is as it was.”
The movie upset some in the Jewish community, but the same voices criticized Pope Benedict for insisting that Jesus remains the universal Savior. Gibson told Diane Sawyer: I don’t want people to make it [his film] about the blame game. It’s about faith, hope, love and forgiveness. That’s what this film is about. It’s about Christ’s sacrifice.”
The film was violent, but was probably still short of the terrible reality that constitutes crucifixion. Gibson told Sawyer that the drama was a personal testimony of faith. But there was a great disconnect in the fact that he could claim Catholicism and still ridicule the Holy See, the bishops, and breech himself from juridical unity. It was also hard to understand how a good Catholic could be party to sexual simulation as an actor.
Gibson confessed that he had been suicidal, even contemplating jumping out a window. But he turned to the Bible and rediscovered Christ. He rightly asserted that our Lord “was beaten for our iniquities.” “He was wounded for our transgressions and by his wounds we are healed. That’s the point of the film. It’s not about pointing the fingers.” Many had hoped that the film would make him a true champion of Catholic faith and values. However, it seems that the “spiritual bankruptcy” which plagued him years earlier has sought to reclaim him.
Mel Gibson is a man with many gifts and yet also terrible addictions. He is one of us, although cameras and gossip mongers follow him everywhere he goes. He admitted to problems with alcohol. He fell off the wagon and used anti-Semitic slurs against the arresting officer. He admitted to sexual promiscuity. His wife has left him and now a young girlfriend is reported as pregnant. Gibson really is in no position to criticize the Church, with or without the vernacular Mass and reforms. Gibson needs our prayers and we should let him know that the Christian community is still ready to help him.
The Church teaches that marriage is a permanent bond that lasts until the death of one of the spouses.
Jesus forbids divorce.
Fornication and adultery are listed as serious sins by St. Paul. They rob us of the kingdom of God.
After 28 years of marriage, Gibson’s wife filed for divorce. They were separated for three years. His publicist acknowledged today that his “girlfriend” Oksana Grigorieva (a 39 year old Russian musician) is pregnant. She already has a son by her former boyfriend, Timothy Dalton.
Drunkenness, fornication and adultery are faults which require repentance. Although Gibson has seven children, his latest will have to face the shame of being born out of wedlock. No priest will marry a couple if there is an existing prior bond. Gibson might have his private chapel staffed by a sede vacantist priest, but he would assuredly be told to refrain from taking Holy Communion.
My advice to Mel Gibson is to overcome your addictions and the demons which corrupt your life. Strive diligently to avoid mortal sin, repent, make restitution and seek absolution. If your marriage can be salvaged, that too should be explored. If the pieces cannot be reassembled, then you should strive for the gift of chaste celibacy. Make provisions for the new child, but part from this woman. She does not belong to you. You cannot exchange your wife for a mistress.
He gave us a great gift with his movie about Christ. He needs to know that while we are saddened and disappointed, he is still in our prayers.
Who killed Christ? When asked this question by Sawyer, Gibson answered, “The big answer is, we all did. I’ll be the first in the culpability stakes here.” Yes, his answer rings true, both then and now. The accumulative sins of all mankind throughout all human history and in every place targeted our Lord. We are the murderers of Jesus Christ. He dies so that we might live. However, his gift demands that we make a gift of ourselves. We are to surrender our talents, but also our hearts, minds and whole selves to God.
Mel Gibson loves the Mass. The Mass participates in the heavenly marriage banquet. Marriage is a sacramental covenant which points to the union of Christ to his bride, the Church. We all need to see ourselves in the Offertory and orations of the liturgy. We should see something of ourselves in the wine and bread. We offer the things of earth to be refashioned to that of heaven. Just as we ask that these gifts be changed, so too we beseech God to transform us ever more and more into the likeness of his Son. The one element missing from THE PASSION was the offering of ourselves with Christ, grafted to him, as a pleasing oblation to the Father. We must become spiritually one with the Lamb of God. God became a man so that men might by grace share in something of the divinity— eternal life.