Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pope Mel

In what'll always be one of history's great ironies, the box office from the film most-explicitly promoted in church circles in recent memory... essentially bankrolled schism:
The ultra-conservative Catholic sect founded by Mel Gibson is now worth $42 million, according to tax records made public yesterday.

The Holy Family Catholic Church, a controversial group that is not sanctioned by the Vatican, received a $9.89 million cash infusion from the actor himself, the organization's 2007 tax records show.

Money given to the church is not taxed and funneled through the A.P. Reilly Foundation, which was named after Gibson's late mother, and is based in the same office as his Icon Productions film company.

He had made a similar $10 million donation to his church, where he and his wife Robyn are directors, in 2006, according to his records available on the Web site Guidestar.

The foundation lists no other donors....

Gibson, who moved from upstate New York to Australia at age 12, was raised by an ultraconservative father who has made numerous statements denying the Holocaust.

The actor's own dogmatic brand of Catholicism became international news with the production of his 2004 hit "The Passion of the Christ," which critics said could encourage anti-Semitism.

Gibson was forced to explain his beliefs again after his 2006 bust for drunken driving when he spewed an anti-Semitic tirade at his arresting officer.

He declined to comment for this story, his publicist, Alan Nierob, said....

The Roman Catholic Church does not recognize Gibson's secretive sect because it doesn't acknowledge the supremacy of the Vatican.

Services at Gibson's church follow a 16th-century style of Catholicism, with Mass conducted entirely in Latin and a strict dress code for women.

Among the church's assets are $500,000 worth of art, documents show. It paid $69,000 for legal services and also employed an architect and landscaper for the grounds.
Next up on the big screen: B16's Jesus of Nazareth... produced by the SSPX.

Just kidding, of course. Then again, they've always known how to turn a buck.