International Institute for Culture

Mel Gibson's “Passion” & Aquinas's Five Modes: How the Passion of Christ Works
Sunday, March 28, 2004

This Lenten lecture explains the well-known film "The Passion of the Christ" by reference to the account given by Saint Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologiae IIIa q. 48. There Aquinas appeals to five "modes" whereby he is able to give an account of the efficacy of Christ's Passion. The five "modes" provide the attentive reader of the New Testament and the viewer of Gibson's Passion the opportunity to appreciate the multiplicity of details given over to us in divine revelation without sacrificing the urgency of the Gospel message that Christ died to save all men. The lecture proceeds on this article of divine and Catholic faith: "It must therefore be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith that the universal salvific will of the One and Triune God is offered and accomplished once and for all in the mystery of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son of God" (Dominus Iesus 14).

Father Romanus Cessario
Father Romanus Cessario, priest of the Eastern Province of the Dominicans, currently serves as professor of systematic theology at St. John’s Seminary, Brighton, Massachusetts. His thesis, Christian Satisfaction in Aquinas, was directed by the late Colman O’Neill, O.P., and published in 1982; a revised version, The Godly Image (St. Bede's Press/Fordham University Press), appeared in 1990.  
Father Cessario has published articles on dogmatic and moral theology as well as on the history of Thomism. Among his books can be listed The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics (University of Notre Dame Press, 1991), Perpetual Angelus: As the Saints Pray the Rosary (Alba House, 1995), a short history of Thomism, Le thomisme and les thomistes (Cerf, 1999), Christian Faith and the Theological Life (1996) and, in collaboration with Kevin White, a translation of the fifteenth-century Dominican theologian John Capreolus’s Treatise on the Virtues (2001) (both published by The Catholic University of America Press). His Introduction to Moral Theology has inaugurated the multi-volume Catholic Moral Thought series at CUA Press. Father Cessario serves on the editorial boards of several journals and is senior editor of the monthly worship aid Magnificat. For the last two decades he has lectured extensively in both the United States and Europe.
  Passion of Christ

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