Mel's Catholicism is another, more challenging, issue. As a general rule, Catholics don't fret about the End Times the way born-again Protestants do, and they scoff at the Rapture concept. Catholics are supposed to believe that Revelation's events will eventually happen—Article 7, Section 1, of the official church catechism states that the kingdom of heaven will be fulfilled only by "God's victory over the final unleashing of evil"—but they're not supposed to try and figure out when. They heed Jesus' admonition in Mark 13:32 that "of that date and that hour knoweth no man," which means they don't burn calories worrying about whether the ills of today's world mean The End is near.
Because Mel's Catholicism is different from the standard brew—he and his dad, Hutton Gibson, are widely reported to be "sedevacantists," which means they reject the reforms of Vatican II and the authority of all popes installed since then—I wondered if there might be some juicy, End Times-related conspiracy theory hiding in the shadows.
There is conspiracy theory, but it's not relevant to the apocalypse. The most extreme sedevacantists believe that the various false popes since Vatican II were installed by a Jewish cabal designed to destroy true Catholicism and, eventually, usher in a period of secret global control. That sounds like the sort of thing a pesky Antichrist would do just before the Tribulation, but it isn't ... quite. It's more like a really bad historical event whose final meaning remains unclear.
As Hutton Gibson put it during his infamous interview with New York radio talk-show host Steve Feuerstein, "I don't know what their [the Jews'] agenda is except it's all about control. They're after one world religion and one world government."
For a while it bugged me that there's no solid evidence Mel is personally obsessed with the End Times happening soon—he declined my request for an interview—but then I realized it doesn't matter. All he has to do is set the action during some distant, mysterious, painful-to-contemplate future that will be marked by chaos, madness, and strife. (You know—like Election Day 2004.)
The final glitch is Mel's recent statement that he's looking at the story of the Maccabees as possible source material for his next film. The Maccabees were a powerful Jewish clan of the second and first centuries B.C. who, at various times, fought bravely in defense of their religious beliefs. Hanukkah celebrates their victory over Hellenistic Syrians, around 165 B.C., in which they reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem. Mel has described their saga as being "like a western."
My only comment: Nice try, but that won't really "sing" in a movie trailer. ("In a world dominated by Hellenized Syrians, one clan said, 'Enough'!") While Mel is wasting time with this, he could be making the wildest movie ever, one with the combined oompah of Lord of the Rings, Mad Max, The Omen, Independence Day, and Billy Jack 1, 2, and 3.
Don't waste this opportunity, Mel. I happen to believe Jesus is talking to you directly, and you know what he's saying? "Greenlight my encore, baby."