As "The Passion" breaks US box office records, Catholic Church in Scotland  
launches a nationwide promotion of the film.  

The Catholic Media Office will this week send a mailing to all of Scotland's  
Catholic parishes, promoting the film "The Passion of The Christ".  

The mailing will include a letter from Bishop Joseph Devine, President of  
the National Communications Commission in which he describes the film as  
"the most powerful I have ever seen", and adds "it is undeniably a  
profoundly religious film, which I believe does not seek to attack or  
demonise any group".  

Bishop Devine concludes by urging Catholics to see the film.  

The full text of the letter is shown below. The film opens on general  
release in 24 Scottish cinemas on 26 March.  

Meanwhile, "The Passion of the Christ" was the top film for a  
third weekend at the US box office, taking in $31.7 million and pushing its  
total ($264 million) beyond a quarter of a billion dollars after having been  
on release for 19 days.  

The film is now set to match or exceed the takings of "The Lord of the  
Rings: The Return of the King".  

ENDS  

Note to editors:  
1. Full text of Bishop Devine's letter below  
2. Together with the letter a list of Scottish cinemas and release dates and  
an A5 flyer for the film will be sent  
3. There are 472 Catholic parishes in Scotland serving a Catholic population  
of approx 750,000  


Peter Kearney  
Director  
Catholic Media Office  
5 St. Vincent Place  
Glasgow  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168  
pk@scmo.org  
www.scmo.org  





March 2004  

Dear Rev. Father,  

On 26 February, I travelled to London to attend the UK premiere of "The  
Passion of The Christ" in my capacity as President of the National  
Communications Commission.  

I left feeling that the film is without question the most powerful I have  
ever seen. It represents a stunningly successful attempt at committing an  
extraordinary event to film.  

Despite the controversy surrounding the production it is undeniably a  
profoundly religious film, which I believe does not seek to attack or  
demonise any group. The message at the heart of the film is that Christ's  
suffering and death lead to the redemption of humanity.  

As Christians, we believe that Christ suffered and died for us - though  
often it is a belief taken for granted and not examined in any detail. This  
film brings that suffering to life in vivid, brutal and sometimes  
unwatchable detail - in doing so it forces the viewer to confront that  
central truth of the Christian message.  

I believe this is the most authentic depiction of the Passion ever committed  
to film and would urge all those who are able, to see it for themselves  
before reaching a judgement on it.  

With this letter I enclose a flyer you may wish to display in the church  
porch and a listing of cinemas across Scotland, which will show the film  
when it goes on general release on 26 March. You may also wish to download  
supporting resources for use in group and parish discussions about the film.  
Links to these resources can be found on the website of the Catholic Media  
Office, www.scmo.org .  

I hope these materials will assist you in promoting a film described by  
Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos as more effective than all the sermons I ll  
ever preach .  

Yours sincerely  

+Joseph Devine  

Bishop of Motherwell  

President, National Communications Commission  

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