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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Advice For Mel

Kirk Douglas says Mel Gibson needs to get his priorities straight:

"Mel is now ready to talk to a Jewish group or a rabbi. I disagree. He is a Catholic and appears to need some spiritual guidance. Perhaps he should talk to one of his own faith. Maybe Cardinal Roger Mahoney (Los Angeles cleric) could be a great help," he said.

He's right. Mel needs spiritual renewal, and that must come ultimately through his own faith. As stated in Alcoholics Anonymous' twelve steps, repentance (steps 3-7) comes before reconciliation (steps 8-9). Repentance involves God and not those aggrieved, so in Mel's case that means Catholic guidance.

Douglas (himself Jewish) recommends Los Angeles' Cardinal John Mahoney. Don't know much about Mahoney, but I know one qualification I'd want to see in Mel's counselor: a working knowledge in (and working skepticism of) Jewish conspiracy theories. The declaration against anti-Semitism in Pope Paul VI's Nostra Aetate isn't enough; the counselor must be able to address the specific ideas about Jews that have been floating around in Mel's head. And Mel needs to be up front about them, with the same degree of honesty expected in Confession.

Douglas makes a statement that has been echoed by others: "I don't find Mel Gibson anti-Semitic. He worked with Jews and has a lot of Jewish friends." I disagree, to a point. Prejudice exists in three different forms: violent hate, nonviolent hate, and snobbery. Snobs vary in the degrees of both interaction with and even amicable feelings for "those people." Sometimes prejudice is in a state of erosion in snobs. Mel Gibson is an anti-Semitic snob who can get along with Jews most of the time. He hasn't been outspoken on all his ideas about Jews, so we don't know to which degree he is now - or has been in the past - a recovering anti-Semite.

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