03/12/2004, 00.00
Lebanon

Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir says Gibson's film is not anti-Semitic

Beirut (AsiaNews/Nahar) –  Cardinal Butros Nasrallah Sfeir, Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, said Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" is "not anti-Semitic at all". The prelate also said the film is "very tied to the facts, very moving and painful (to watch)".  

Even before the film was released in American and European the film was branded as anti-Semitic by Jewish groups which asked that it be banned from theaters. The film's author as well as many Christians and Jewish personalities have always denied that there was truth to the harsh criticism.

The Lebanese patriarch commented on Gibson's film after attending a special screening in Jounieh. "The scenes of Christ's last 12 hours of suffering before being crucified are very realistic indeed," he said.

Since many scenes are painful to watch, the head of the Maronite Church says that only adults should watch the film. Yet watching the movie, he says, is an important step for evangelization: "Now Lebanese have the opportunity to see just how much Christ suffered and had to pay to forgive all the sins of mankind."

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