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Mel Gibson’s traditionalism seems to be feeding his demons

You don’t have to be a doctor to know that Mel is in trouble. And his Holy Family Church is not helping

By on Monday, 12 July 2010

Mel Gibson and his (former) girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva in January (Photo: PA)

Mel Gibson and his (former) girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva in January (Photo: PA)

Newspapers routinely refer to any Roman Catholic in the news as “a devout Catholic”. They would not say that of Mel Gibson at the moment, however. Mad Mel is again in hot water for racism. This time it is not the Jews; it is (allegedly) the blacks (or n—–s as he allegedly calls them). He has also, according to reports, hit his (former) girlfriend, the Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva, and called her an expletive-deleted “pig in heat”.

Just like a juiced up Irish-Australian-American, eh? But it seems he was not tight. Whatever the case, a recording was made of Gibson’s alleged outburst and then leaked. Ms Grigorieva and Gibson were already engaged in a bitter custody battle for their nine-month-old daughter, and now Gibson faces domestic abuse charges.

You don’t have to be a doctor to know that Mel is a man in the grip of galloping paranoia and sexual insecurity. He is a puritan who now regrets having departed from the straight and narrow, and is blaming his ex-girlfriend for his fall. He is like a lot of us, in other words. He is also a serious Catholic, however, and has sound liturgical instincts. Unfortunately, he cleaves to a paranoid traditionalism that seems to feed his demons (or at any rate does not destroy them). Maybe he should return to the mainstream, hand his Holy Family Church outside Malibu to some traditionalist group in communion with Rome. All he has to do is place an ad in the Catholic Herald…

The only defence of Gibson I have seen in the past week comes from the likeable Hugo Rifkind. Alas, Hugo plays it safe. In the current issue of the Spectator he deplores Gibson’s racism (as who does not?) but says he will not apologise for remaining passionately keen on Gibson’s movies. “I just wouldn’t have him in the house,” he says.

Me, I’d have Gibson in the house any day, but would not want to watch any of his films again. He’s a poor, often embarrassing actor, and a cheesy director. No exceptions? Well, the first Mad Max wasn’t bad and I think that there is still something to be said for the beautiful, sensational and sometimes horrid The Passion, though I am not sure I would want to see it again.

Then, too, the first five minutes of the little-known Conspiracy Theory are genius. The rest is rubbish, but in those first five minutes Gibson gives a hilarious performance as a paranoid taxi driver. Go here.

“Someone’s got to lift the festering scab that is the Vatican” is a very good line. What is especially droll about this scene is that Gibson himself almost certainly believed some of the rubbish spouted by his character. Heck, even I believe that George Bush Sr was a 33rd degree Freemason.

  • Poulettictac

    You know him, then….clearly you must know him or you could not write so authoritatively, as you plainly do.

  • Poulettictac

    Really? Whose 'catholic church'? Certainly not that of all the saints in heaven before John XXII.

  • twinkle

    Get a grip! Life and death danger? If someone phones me up trying to be abusive I simply HANG UP. She could always change her number. He is ILL, Alcoholism is an ILLNESS. He is the one isolated and in danger. It is actually him that is vulnerable. She seems quite well hard enough to look after herself.God Bless him and thank him for the all enjoyment he has given me over the years. I wonder how well any of us “Christians” would look if our conversations were taped and used against us. I have said some right choice things to my husband over the years. I note that there are no tapes of Mel when he was being kind,generous and loving to her. And when all is said and done, it really isn;t any of our darned business is it?

  • Rudyparnell

    K, I think you have hit on the truth of the matter…..but your statements would hardly test well in this world of Science and Relativity. I will always think kindly of ,our friend, Mel Gibson.

  • Mamasnookems

    He needs to repent and turn to Jesus Christ, not to traditions.

  • Paul

    Stuart Reid, you said, “Maybe he should return to the mainstream, hand his Holy Family Church outside Malibu to some traditionalist group in communion with Rome.”??? The so-called mainstream as you call it, is not remotely Catholic. But then I doubt you would know anything about TRUE CATHOLICISM.

  • Mallon

    Surely whoever wrote this is a loon.

  • 51Mihangel

    I was rather saddened to see someone wishing Gibson to hell. I remember a good Franciscan priest now deceased, Father Alexander OFM at St Francis' Stratford in the late 1960's saying to me, 'when I look at the crucifix I find it hard to see anyone in hell.' Even according to human justics, a life sentence even if lasting the full term ends with a person's death, so how can the justice and mercy of God be any less than ours? Would anyone of us wish to punish a person no matter how hideous their crimes by an eternity of suffering? Even if Hitler had to serve the nominal 22 years for each person he killed, he would be free after some 100 million years – so let us hope that none of us deserves the harshest of all sentences. The Gospel teaches to pray for those who hurt us – so difficult at times but that is the Lord's way, who astoundingly as he was being nailed to the cross, the most excruciatingly painfilled experience, pleaded with the Father, 'Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they are doing. Perhaps those who wish to see Gibson in hell may in time gain the wisdom of the Holy Gospel and understand better their own sinfulness and in what way they too stand in need of God's mercy. We thank Our Eternal Heavenly Father, that his mercy is indeed without end. Amen.

  • Donnaruth

    It strikes me these actions are from someone suffering a bipolar disorder.

    Sadly, Mel and his dad are far outside the Catholic Church. They are part of an angry sedevacante (the papal seat is vacant) group that rejects the mainstream Catholic Church.


    I hate all forms of racism, and I hope that he has no such tendencies.

    That aside, why doesn`t his girlfriend do as he tells her to do?

  • Anthony Miller

    If you look at him in his early 80s films and look at him in interviews and on TV today and add up all his odd incidents I think he's …erm …gone off. Yes, I know there's a thing called acting on screen but there's a certain emotional truth about themselves which actors and performers cannot fake and if he'd always been like that how come it's only in recent years that the stories have made the papers – he must have changed as a person. I dont think his new found religious zeal is completely unrelated either. It's not unusual for people with “problems” to find God as a catch-all solution to their own problems. He has to use a psycological term “gone-off-a-bit”.

    Personally I started to dislike him from the time he made Braveheart with all its historical flexibility to the point of being openly racist against the English. Ahhh …those were the days when the English were the biggest vilians on the Holywood silver screen. Now we must make do with 3rd place behind Islamic terrorists and Osama Bin Laden. Still, lets remember him for the good films he made.

  • Saunders9

    Mel Gibson made a fantastic film the 'The Passion' and he was celebrated as this great Catholic. He may be a Catholic, but his Catholic Church is not in communion with Rome and is at odds with Rome because it doesn't accept Vatican II. I've lived in America and there is a lot of Catholics who think the Pope by accepting Vatican II is a false pope etc along with the fundamentalist christians. Mel is a mixed up guy whose had a baby with a girlfriend and is divorced from his wife. Has been caught on tape racially abusing Jews and Blacks. I think his bought it all on himself. But if Mel's a great catholic, then I've got it all wrong.

  • Tancred

    It's hard to determine what's worse: commentators who air their ill-conceived views about Gibson from the safety and relative anonymity of views widely accepted by the herd, or people who continue to spit on a man when he's fallen, but you've got both bases covered.

    Mr. Gibson is a highly talented and flawed individual but I'd hate to think what a pious mediocrity like yourself would have done with even a scintilla of his talent and ability.

  • Mezmerthemagus

    Mel is a Sedevacantist which has formed his vision that the Church no longer exists… who is to blame for Sedevacantism? It is the 'main stream church' which since Vatican II has destroyed what Catholics for 2000 years regarded as most Sacred and True….

    At last we have a Pope who is trying to restore what has been lost! The Church FROM THE BEGINNING has always condemned NOVELTY yet after VII NOVELTY was the new Orthodoxy while Tradition (Apostolic and Liturgical) became heresy!

    Who is really to blame? Who has destroyed the faith of hundreds of millions?!!! He who has eyes let him see!!!

  • Anthony Miller

    ” If someone phones me up trying to be abusive I simply HANG UP ”

    But the point is he's not just someone – he's her man.

    It's not that easy when you are in an abusive relationship to hang up because you are connected emotionally and financially – if it was as simple as putting the phone down there'd be a lot less people killed by their spouses. No man should be threatening his woman with violence – ever. Full stop. There are no excuses. People like Mel Gibson seek the respectability of religion because they want to cloak their real nature. Many people have booze related problems – they dont go round threatening their wives. There are only two reasons that someone would do this. They are mad or they are bad or both.

  • Dr07

    You are lucky across the pond, there has never been a Catholic attacked for being Catholic. Otherwise, you would think twice about condemning Mel's actions, and if you had been attacked, I think you would at minimum hear his side of the stories. Without listening to Mel’s side of the story, these remarks are under the definition bigot.

    Let me rephrase it, his actions appear like anger, but it could as easily be indignation. Have you Brits ever heard the term, “Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others.” American law protects citizens because of race, religion and gender, etc. Consider that in America, everything Mel is, is not protected. Anyone can in these protected groups can discriminate against Mel; and, if Mel complains the offender can hide behind these protections and the clan comes out to protect the offender. It makes it a lot easier to humiliate Mel as was done on Friday. If he responds, we look at his actions as evil, and disregard the history behind his actions. I am sure none of you have experienced this.

    Read carefully the first reading from last Sunday, “The lord hears the cry of the poor” but he does not yield unjustly to the poor over a victim that is not poor. Why does the lowly have to be heard by the Lord, before we act on their behalf and hear/discover their side of the story?

    You have heard the tapes, but did you “listen” to the tapes. Listen to the “fear” in Ms Grigorieva voice as she pounds Mel’s manhood. Her voice is provocative, with not an ounce of fear. And, consider that every word she said has a dollar sign attached to it.

    Further, did you know that a couple years ago a mile of public beach in front of his house was confiscated for religious purposes for which he was not invited?

    A comment was made, “Mel was taught to hate.” Has anyone asked, “Mel, who taught you to hate?”

  • Dr07

    Everything Mel is not is protected by law or guilt in America. That is where Satan resides: in bigotry (Race, Religon, Gender, etc.) Heaven forbid Mel be enraged/indignant when a single mother tries to, if true, extort money from him because she signed a Pre-nuptual agreement.

    Where are critics going to draw the line between when anger becomes indignation?

    Consider the money and prestigue that roll into the critics receive while appearing on special Larry King panels, not to mention that the producers that are in one of the protected groups can exert on Mel to “fall in line” Just because the objects of Mel's raging are protected, does not mean they memebers of this protected group are not abusing Mel and hiding when Mel calls them out on the carpet.

    The rage you see could as easily be the manifestation from abuse that Mel experienced for decades. You do not know who “taught Mel to hate”. Therein lies the Satan in us all, slothfull indifference to the source of Mel's angst.

    I know what an Assie would do, what would someone from Never-Never (Eng)land do? How would you feel?

  • Loyal to the Magisterium

    I'm not into bashing people and gossiping about celebraties like that. My bag of sins weigh heavier than mels. Please Catholic herald leave the Gossip to silly papers such as the Irish Sun amongst many. Your a Catholic newspaper not a secular one, act like it.

  • Hieronymus Illinensis

    (1) Loup Garou didn't actually wish Mr. Gibson to Hell, but stated where, objectively, he will go if he does not repent of his sins and seek absolution from the Church. However, Loup Garou should have added that conditional clause.

    (2) The mercy of God is indeed without end, but so is His respect for human free will. Think of a sinner (let's call him Hieronymus). If Hieronymus prefers holding on to his own sins to coming into the presence of God—which would require him to experience the pain and horror of seeing his own sins as God sees them, and admitting that they are his—God will not compel Hieronymus to enter Heaven against his will. Hieronymus can remain outside forever if he chooses, even though his pain of loss will be so great that, craving distraction from it, he will inflict on himself the full measure of the pain of sense (think of the young people today who feel such pain in their souls that they cut themselves for relief of it)—dreading the pain of God's healing fire more.

  • Gina2333

    Katrina: You R a wise lady… very well said here…..

  • Ronkpken

    NO. When the meaning is “of a line which does not bend”, the correct spelling is “straight”.

  • Trent

    You comment my be true about sedevacantists, but what about we traditional Catholics that have been ex-communicated because we hold strong to our traditions, as St. Paul has taught us? Are we outside the Church because of it? I am no sedevacantist, but in the eyes of the Modernist hierarchy, I might as well be.

  • s graham

    I was in Scotland in September, and found it to be a very holy place.I would love to know what your experience was like and how your conversion unfolded..

  • Jeffrey C. Johnson

    Pray for him. Personally, I don’t know the man – but I suspect that after “The Passion” he has begun to very closely examine his life and has found it wanting. Before accepting a Father’s love and forgiveness, a man often feels overwhelmed with his wickedness and experiences “conviction”. Hopefully that “conviction” leads to repentance and reconciliation with God, but often before accepting forgiveness, one lashes out with the self hatred one feels and comes dangerously close to despair (the sin of Judas). Pray that he succumbs to the Father’s Holy Will.

  • Anonchap

    Mel Gibson is in fact an excellent actor. Many examples could be provided. His performance in the first Lethal Weapon, for instance, is powerful.

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