Last night I was exercising and flipping through the channels and saw Mel Gibson on the Jay Leno Show- very disturbing stuff. He joked about having a lot of off-color jokes, he offered up some profanity to quote some girls he ran into while filming in Boston. To top it off he promised Leno that if and when he decides to get married again he would announce it first on Leno’s show.
This is all pretty common fodder for celebrities on these cheesy talk shows- but I had built up Gibson as a brother Catholic who put his faith out there when he made “The Passion of the Christ”, and was very public in opposing embryonic stem cell research. He was like my guy in Hollywood.
The doubts about him started with his drunken rants against “the Jews”. But I sort of attributed that to his being an alcoholic and falling off the wagon one night, and being so fed up with the media circus during “The Passion” with accusations of anti-Semitism flying in his face at every turn. He could have given into a night of purging out his anger in drunken stupidities. But now he has publicly crossed a line in the sand for me.
Here is a man in his 50’s, so personally familiar with the redemptive suffering of our Lord, a man married for many years with SEVEN children by this woman- and he has an affair with a young woman, and announces her pregnancy on – Jay Leno?? His wife divorces him and he is now apparently living with his new lover and his 8th child. And the next big step in his life will apparently be announced through the late night comedy format once more.
This is all very bad stuff. I understand now, as a married man with children myself, just how important the whole life witness aspect to being a Christian disciple truly is. You can’t miss seeing the impact of your actions on the faces of your own kids- but all the little ones and all the non-believers are impacted by what you say and what you do when you publicly proclaim your own Christian loyalties. This life witness is a huge deal. I fear that the excellent artistic presentation of the Passion of our Lord will be negatively affected by the antics of the artist who brought us this profound work. This is how it works in real life. People associate Christians with Christ, they associate public persons with their personal lives- when you combine these two aspects as Mel Gibson does- it is an intense pressure. Mel is obviously not dealing with it all very well. He needs his Catholic brothers and sisters to intervene- I don’t know him at all personally, so I can only pray for him as my wife and I did last night with one of our rosary intentions.
I don’t want to see Mel Gibson end up on the scrap heap of Hollywood celebrity has-beens. He has gifted me and millions with his work on “The Passion”, he deserves our concern and our prayers- he needs to wake up and stay away from Jay Leno’s couch and focus on repentance and using his failings to help others avoid whatever sins he has been seduced by. I can recall that he chose to have his own hands filmed to depict the nails being driven into Christ at His crucifixion. He needs to get back to that level of humility and spiritual awareness. Come back brother- we need more artists for Christ not yet another one shamelessly mocking the faith and our Lord in word or deed.