On Hugh Hewitt's right-wing, pseudo-christian, doom-and-gloom hate-talk show last night, I heard that Mel Gibson was making a film based on Brian Dullaghan's novel, "Stealing From Angels."
Here's the gist of it, at least the significant parts (the parts that worry me). In the book, the "hero" finds himself in possession of a dangerous secret--the third secret shared with three poor, young children by the Virgin Mary in Fatima in 1917.
The first two secrets prophesied (if you read them that way) the creation of Godless Soviet Communism, and the world engulfed in war. The third secret remained just that--a secret--until 2000, when Pope John Paul II revealed it to the world (I'm not making this up). The entire text of the third secret can be found here, and believe me, it is cryptic, but it has to do with "tribulation." The Pope (it does not say which one) is "killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him," and likewise a group of bishops, priests and other religious men and women all die. An angel with a fiery sword yells, "penance, penance!" and more angels appear, gathering up the blood of the martyrs and sprinkling it on the souls of those making their way toward Heaven.
That's pretty much what it says. What it means, well--WOW--I sure don't know. I'll leave that to the theologians.
Here's what bothers me: it's another example of fundamentalist thinking that this is a clear sign that we are entering (or are squarely in the middle of) "the end times" and the apocalypse, replete with the Anti-Christ, the multi-headed beast, the rapture, etc., etc., etc., is upon us.
George W. Bush's presidency is so special to fundamentalists for this reason. He has managed to speak the language of fundamentalist "christians" (while at the same time making a mockery of real Christian values), and they can feel vindicated and assured of their own--and his--righteousness. Everything that has happened in the world in recent years--war in the middle east, the fall of the Soviet Union, 9/11, the "persecution" of Christianity in America, the "war between good and evil"--is a direct result of our being in "the end times" and none of it has to do with historical social, technological, political, economic, or military forces at work in the world of human intellectual freedom. A corollary to this is, of course, that nothing that the "christian nation" of America does in the world is bad, destructive, or harmful--it is all "god's work." The flip side of this is, of course, that anyone who criticizes this president, this administration, or American policy of any kind--foreign or otherwise--is somehow on the "side of evil," on the side of terror, presumably on the side of THE BEAST.
Scariest of all is that Bush actually believes he was "chosen by God."
BUT WAIT--THERE'S MORE...
The right-wing pseudo-press has recently been alive with reports that Mel Gibson had a personal audience with Sr. Lucia dos Santos, the last surviving Fatima visionary, to whom the Blessed Virgin is said to have appeared. The visit occured some time in the summer of 2004. Sr. Lucia died on Febrary 13, 2005 (a little over two weeks ago as I write). And NOW come reports of Gibson making this movie.
Why am I so bothered?
Remember "The Passion of the Christ?" Many people praised the film as being a "realistic" (whatever that means in this case) telling of the Gospel. Rather than the Gospels, the script seemed to come from a book by a 19th century German mystic, Anne Catherine Emmerich, titled The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I don't need to get into a protracted discussion of the relative merits or faults of the film. The point I want to make is this: Gibson's "Passion" is not a faithful retelling of the Gospels, but a faithful retelling of Emmerich's book. The problem is, most people look at it as a faithful retelling of the Gospels.
Now comes "Fatima" (or whatever it will be called). Will it be a faithful retelling of that story? Or will we find out, two years from now, that Sr. Lucia interpreted her vision--especially the "third secret"--in a particular way, and now only Mel Gibson knows "the whole truth?"
Get ready for the apocalypse.