L'article, très détaillé, du Wanderer, se conclut sur cette remarque : «Le soutien que le cardinal a spontanément apporté au film de Gibson, aussitôt l'avoir vu, pourrait bien être le plus fort jamais donné à un film par un haut responsable de l'Église". 

Daniel Hamiche


Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos’ . . .

Powerful Endorsement Of Mel Gibson’s

Film,The Passion


ROME — Every priest in the Church ought to be sure to see the Mel Gibson film portraying the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, exclaimed Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, after a screening of a preliminary version of the new picture.

  The screening took place at one of the Roman houses of the Legionaries of Christ.

  The food offered for meditation on the sufferings of our Lord that you find in this film, make it a great blessing to all Catholic priests, said the cardinal. Castrillon Hoyos is known for his tireless efforts to intensify the spiritual lives of the clergy.

  One of the most remarkable things about the screening was that it brought Mel Gibson to Rome; reports have it that he was brought

up to believe that a false Pope reigns there and that the See of Peter now stands vacant.

  Gibson’s father is known to be an outspoken proponent of the "sede-vacantist" (vacant seat) explanation of the countless scandals besetting the Catholic Church. Reports have it that both father and son are not shy about saying that a Pope is certainly essential to the Church and it’s too bad we don’t have one.

  At one point while Mel Gibson was in Rome, an aide to the cardinal reportedly had lunch with perhaps the most glamorous sede-vacantist in the world.

  We can speculate that a lot may have been said at that meal about the fact that the Pope kissed a copy of the Koran on one occasion. These, and other, similar episodes, are said to be a scandal to Gibson.

  If it was remarkable, surely unprecedented, for Mel Gibson to turn up at the Vatican, it was appropriate, perhaps providential, that he should come and meet Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. The cardinal had to come to the screening in a wheelchair, having suffered a borderline fracture of his leg this last summer.

  When Castrillon Hoyos took over Ecclesia Dei, I spoke to a journalist hailing from the cardinal’s native country, Colombia, in the hope of learning something about the prelate.

  So far as I could discover, Castrillon Hoyos was not much of a celebrity at home — and not known, certainly, for any interest in zealous devotees and defenders of the Tridentine Mass.

  He did intervene in some hopeless-looking political disputes. He did get a reputation for being fearless, fair, and reasonable in dealing with people (drug dealers, gangsters, anything you like) whom other bishops did not know how to deal with.

  People on the borderlines of society would be willing to talk to Castrillon Hoyos, not to other bishops, and evidently they felt he was serious, trustworthy, an excellent listener, and very understanding.

  So far as I can learn, he had no contact of any kind with any Lefebvre-style traditionalists in South America, or even after he came to Rome in 1996.

  Reportedly, when he agreed to take over the Ecclesia Dei commission after the aged Angelo Cardinal Felici retired, Castrillon Hoyos had relatively little knowledge of the differences between the Society of St. Pius X, the Society of Pius V, and the Fraternity of St. Peter.

  At that moment the Ecclesia Dei post was first offered to Cardinal Ratzinger who knew almost everything about Archbishop Lefebvre and his concerns.

  But Cardinal Ratzinger declined it, protesting that he was already seriously overworked — and already faced too many embittered enemies. For various reasons the post was also declined by the second choice, Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez.

  Therefore, Castrillon, as the third choice, perhaps felt he ought to take it.

  And he took it very seriously.

  Since he has become head of the Ecclesia Dei commission, the cardinal considers that he has a special duty to reconcile not only the Society of St. Pius X but all other traditionalist schismatics — the invisible part of the traditionalist iceberg, the part that lies hidden below the water.

  He found out that some priests had left the SSPX and formed the St. Pius V organization, and that many disillusioned priests have been saying the old Mass for small congregations, without adhering to any organization at all. At once, reportedly, he felt he ought to work for the reconciliation of all the priests and lay people in such situations.

  In any case, as prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy, Castrillon Hoyos was busy in Rome providing theological and spiritual guidance for Catholic priests around the world. In 2000, Fr. Schmidburger, head of the Society of St. Pius X, told a group of its lay friends that the solid Catholic character of what the cardinal distributed among priests had made a splendid impression on the people they knew and helped to make the SSPX leaders willing to meet with him.

A Serious Impact

  It is likely that Mel Gibson knew nothing about any of this when he arrived in Rome with the copy of his film, The Passion. Four years ago, Castrillon Hoyos did not specifically know there were people like Gibson — and four weeks ago Gibson didn’t know about the Ecclesia Dei commission.

  The only reason the star and the cardinal came together was the link each one had with the Legionaries of Christ.

  The cardinal is favorable to and friendly with the Legionaries, a new order founded by a Latin American.

  The group, founded in 1941, was given official approval in Rome in 1965 and at present counts more than 1,700 members, of whom more than 400 are priests. They have more than 100 houses.

  The purpose of the institute is to establish the Kingdom of Christ among intellectuals and professional people, especially teachers and those engaged in social work.

  Interested in the Gibson film about Jesus, a group of Legionaries and their friends went to watch some of the movie being shot.

  Eventually Gibson noticed them hanging around his set, went over to them and asked them questions, and thus got to know them. They got along pretty well. Of course he wanted to try out the picture on different audiences, and it was arranged that he should screen it at one of their houses in Rome.

  The endorsement the cardinal spontaneously offered to the work Gibson has done, as soon as he saw it, may be the strongest that any prominent churchman has ever given to any movie.

  What Castrillon Hoyos felt, and said, is a great tribute to a movie filmed entirely in the languages of the time of Christ, in defiance of commonsense commercial standards.

  Unless nobody else in the world ever agrees with Cardinal Castrillon, this film is likely to have a serious impact. It might make Mel Gibson an important representative of Christianity in the English-speaking world.

  And because some might think that Gibson believes the Pope is an impostor, it will be necessary to do what can be done to refute this canard.

  The Pope will survive. But the evils which prepared the minds of many for sede-vacantist notions ought to be addressed fully, and fairly — which should not be too difficult. They ought to be, they must be, for if they are not dealt with, the delusion could possibly spread.