Well, the book arrived. I refer to A Guide to the Passion: 100 Questions About The Passion of the Christ, a book designed especially to be given out by Catholics to folks who have seen The Passion of the Christ from Ascension Press, written by the Catholic Exchange. The URL given for the book is: www.evangelization.com. Notice that there are downloadable “devotional prayers” from the Rosary on the site, suggestions for how to evangelize for the “true faith,” etc. I told you RC apologists were rejoicing. And here is a section from the Introduction of the book that pretty much says it all:
As someone involved in the distribution and marketing of the film, I noticed early on the fervor with which many Protestant communities were preparing to use the film for evangelistic purposes. Websites sprang up featuring downloadable materials about Jesus and the gospels. Marketing companies began churning out posters and flyers promoting the film and their own faith communities. Tracts poured into circulation making the case for Christ as the key to peace and happiness in life.
Yet, for all the sophisticated evangelization strategies, the irony is that our Protestant brothers and sisters cannot adequately speak to many of the issues and questions the film evokes because the film is so distinctly Marian, so – obviously Eucharistic, so quintessentially Catholic as is the New Testament itself. In terms of effecting conversions and motivating people to weed out sin from their lives – which is what meditating on the Passion of Christ is all about–our evangelical friends have been an inspiration. But can their theology adequately or honestly mine such cinematic gems as the Last Supper flashbacks? Though the founders of some of the prominent Protestant denominations believed in and adored the Blessed Sacrament, this fact has been lost today in huge portions of American Protestantism. And without an understanding of Mary as our model in true Christian faith, one cannot begin to understand her significant role in the film. Only a solid understanding of the Catholic Faith can help us grasp these essential elements that figure so prominently in both in the Scriptural record and the apostolic Tradition.
The film quite accurately links the sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the Mass. In doing so, it faithfully depicts biblical and Catholic teaching. Yet the Eucharistic connections between the Passion and the Mass are not obvious to many Catholics today. Indeed, speaking out of my own experience as a clueless Catholic ten years ago, I can only say that it’s highly unlikely that such connections are obvious even to those who have been born and raised in the Church. This is not because the connections are not there, but because so many people have not received an education in the Faith that equips them to see those connections, which are quite real and are, in fact, delineated for us in the teaching of the Church. Therefore, we at CatholicExchange.com see a need for this book to provide answers to some of the many questions critical to a full understanding of authentic Christianity – questions The Passion of The Christ will most certainly raise.
The book comes replete with a listing of suggested Roman Catholic resources, including the following reading list for non-Catholics:
For non-Catholic Christians:
Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic by David Currie
By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic
Tradition by Mark P. Shea
Catholic and Christian by Alan Schreck
My Life on the Rock by Jeff Cavins
Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn
Surprised by Truth by Patrick Madrid
This is My Body: An Evangelical Discovers the Real Presence by Mark P. Shea
Why Do Catholics Genuflect? by Al Kresta
I’ll read some more from the book tomorrow on the DL. For those of you who thought I was being reactionary a few weeks ago in saying this movie is a Roman Catholic apologists’ dream, well, tell me: will most of the evangelicals you know be ready with an answer to this kind of stuff?