Based on initial media reports, we have serious concerns about the film
you are currently making about the last hours of the life of Jesus, "The
Passion," and would like to be assured that it will not give rise to the
old canard of charging Jews with deicide and to anti-Semitism.
Passion plays have an infamous history of leading to hatred, violence and
even death of Jews. Given your talent and celebrity, how you depict the death
of Jesus will have widespread influence on people's ideas, attitudes and
behavior towards Jews today.
The Catholic Church has confronted its tradition of teaching of
contempt for Jews and its charge of deicide leveled against the Jewish people
and unequivocally repudiated both. The Church understands that only teachings
which promote understanding and reconciliation toward the Jewish people can
represent religious truth and the word of God.
As a respected international movie icon, you have a great responsibility
in the message ultimately promoted by the film, one we hope that is positive.
We look forward to your response on this urgent issue.
Abraham H. Foxman
Media Watch ADL monitors electronic and print media reports about the Middle East