Thursday, February 19, 2004

Mel, Hutton and the Fourth Commandment

Last night I watched Mel Gibson's lengthy interview w/ Dianne Sawyer (you can view the entire episode here, Quicktime media player required). I thought it was a pretty comprehensive interview, covering the variety of topics and pretty much all the various challenges that critics have posed of the film (and to Gibson himself). I think he handled it very well on all counts, and I was sufficiently impressed.

Much as I respect Mel Gibson (based on his interviews I've seen with him), I can't say I hold his father in high regard. Especially if this report is true:

A week before Mel Gibson's movie about Jesus Christ hits theaters, his father has gone on an explosive rant against Jews - claiming they fabricated the Holocaust and are conspiring to take over the world. . . .

In the interview, when Barbara Walters questioned Gibson about the controversial views of his father (regarding the Pope, Vatican II, the Jews, the Holocaust, etc.), Mel simply responded "got to let it go. [i.e., no more questions about my dad.] -- he's my dad and I love him."

For the record, Gibson's own views on the Jews and the Holocaust reveal that he clearly does not share the opinions of his father, as conveyed explicitly in the interview w/ Walters. He also indicated the possibility that non-Catholics, Jews and Muslims might even be saved by Christ, which is decidely not radtraddish.

So, I've been thinking about Gibson's response in relation to the interpretation of the commandment to "honor thy father and thy mother" -- Gibson clearly interprets this as not to speak in any way that would cast aspersion upon his parents. Is Mel's deliberate refusal to specifically counter and challenge his father's controversial (anti-semitic) comments about the Jews and the Holocaust an appropriate interpretation of the fourth commandment? Is the expression of his own views on the topic while maintaining silence regarding his father's sufficient? Or is this one of those circumstances where one might be morally compelled to directly and publicy respond to his father?

Just jotting down my thoughts as they occur to me -- haven't had time to examine the Catechism or see what advice Catholic tradition has to offer on this issue.

Nevertheless, I'd be pleased to hear others' thoughts.

  • FOLLOW-UP magnificent post from "Dyspeptic Mutterings" which provides insight into what Mel's going through in relation to his father. Very intuitive . . . thanks, Dale.

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