Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Canonical Status
There has been a great deal made of Mel Gibson's attachment to the Tridentine Rite of the Holy Mass. Not a problem. However, some have claimed that he attends Holy Mass offered by a schismatic priest of the Society of St. Pius X. I have also heard that Mel may have built "his own" chapel where the Holy Mass in the Tridentine Rite is offered. All of this raises questions about Mel's canonical status or ecclesial relationship to a bishop in communion with Rome and, indeed, to Rome itself. Does anyone know -- beyond conjecture (in other words, more definitively) -- what Mel's canonical status is? Is he in schism?

In addition to the above information, I also have a bit of added information through my pastor. My pastor attended seminary in California and a good priest friend of his from there (the grandson of John Wayne -- that's a different story) has come to know Jim Caviezel, who portrays Jesus in Mel's movie. In fact, this priest has become almost a sort of spiritual director to Caviezel. Through that connection my pastor joined a group to Medjugore that included his priest friend and Caviezel. In a brief conversation between my pastor and Caviezel, my pastor asked Jim about Mel, "And Mel? He loves the Pope?" My pastor reports that Caviezel responded a bit sheepishly with, "Pray for him [Mel]." That would seem to support the suspicion of being in schism. However, not even that is definitive proof.

Does anyone out there know what Mel's canonical status is? Let us know. And, please, please don't equate this post with the silliness of trying to get people to stay away from the movie. That is not the intention whatsoever.

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