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Empowering dialogue found in ‘The Passion’

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, March 4, 2004

I sincerely want to thank Saint Mary’s students and faculty who took part in the discussion on “The Passion of the Christ” on Tuesday.

I have been teaching in the Religious Studies Department at SMC since 1970, and I’ve not experienced such an open and honest discussion in a large group. A considerable crowd stayed for an hour and a half in Stapleton Lounge, listening with attention and speaking intensely.

Four RLST faculty presented short statements about the film based on their academic specialities: Stacy Davis on the Hebrew Scriptures, John Fotopoulos on the New Testament, Sister Kathleen Dolphin on theological issues and Sister Elena Malits on religion and film.

Comments from students frequently disagreed with the panel, but did so responsibly. Questions were genuine and often really insightful. An authentic dialogue was going on, with all parties respecting differences and seeking understanding. Whatever faults the Mel Gibson film may have, it can only be applauded for engendering this level of dis-discussion. May we have more sessions like this.

Elena MalitsProfessor Emerita, Religious StudiesSaint Mary’s CollegeMar. 3