What Happened?

While in his mid-thirties, Mel Gibson, a Catholic who had once considered the priesthood but had instead become a wildly successful movie star, found himself in a dark place. From his account: “But when you get to that point where you don’t want to live, and you don’t want to die — it’s a desperate, horrible place to be. And I just hit my knees. And I had to use the Passion of Christ and wounds to heal my wounds. And I’ve just been meditating on it for twelve years.”

One result of that meditation was 2004’s The Passion of the Christ, a film, according to co-screenwriter Benedict Fitzgerald, that Gibson said he was making as “a gift to his faith.” There was considerable controversy surrounding the film (see above link to Peter Boyer’s masterful New Yorker article on the matter), but it went on to succeed beyond everyone’s expectations, grossing over $600 million worldwide.

What happened next hardly needs rehashing, but here it is in brief: in 2006, an intoxicated Gibson was pulled over for drunk driving. In dealing with the police, he said a bunch of stupid things, including some stupid things about Jews, which helped confirm the popular suspicion that he was an anti-Semite. Then, earlier this year, he confirmed that he was divorcing his wife of 18 years, and that he had taken up with a Russian musician, with whom he was expecting a child. It turned out that he had been effectively separated from his wife for three years. That takes us back to 2006.

Oh, and there was that lawsuit Fitzgerald filed against Gibson.

So, why hash all this out? Because Godsbody is damned curious about Gibson’s current opinion of/experience of his faith. From the outside, it looks like he made the great religious statement of his artistic career, and everything went to hell. A look at his Wikipedia page makes it clear that he is comfortable being forthright in interviews. Will someone please ask him about this?


  1. I was thinking about him recently and that very thing.

    I think it boils down to the fact that your general "run of the mill" person of faith needs a cheerleader in this crazy world. The Christian Right made Mel that…Because of his insights, people turned him into a saint.

    Turns out, he was just as troubled a soul as most of the rest of us.

    And I think for Roman Catholics, it's interesting that he was considered so hard-core, he even rejected the validity of the modern Papacy…Now, it's "Sugar…" to the cops and so on and so forth, shall we say?


  2. Jenny Bluett says

    28 years

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