The Passion of the Christ According to Emmerich

The Passion of the Christ has been described by Protestant leaders as being �factually accurate,� �very accurate [in the details],� �realistic,� �biblical,� �an accurate account,.� �a true representation of Jesus� and �close to the Scriptures.� All of these quotes were taken from The Passion Outreach Web site, a resource dedicated to helping churches of all denominations capitalize on this movie. This movie is continually described as an exceedingly accurate portrayal of the gospel account of the passion of Jesus � an account that transcends denominations.

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Mel Gibson has repeatedly acknowledged that He drew inspiration for The Passion of the Christ both from the gospels and from the writings of Anne Catherine Emmerich. He respects her to such an extent that he carries an Emmerich relic in his pocket at all times. Most Protestants pastors and leaders admit that Gibson has taken �artistic license� at times, but by reading Emmerich�s book The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ we will see that much of what is perceived as artistic license is actually following the words of Emmerich. It seems that it is impossible to reconcile Emmerich and the Bible. The movie must either follow the Word of God or the words of a human. Though the two seem to complement each other at times, far more often they contradict. A staunch Roman Catholic and devotee of Mary, Emmerich adds situations and theology which stand in direct contrast to the beliefs Protestants should hold dear.


Before we begin this examination I would like to answer the question of why I have decided to present this information. Certainly this could be construed as an attempt to just be critical for the sake of being critical. It could be seen as an attempt to lower other people�s perception of a man who claims to be a Christian. It could be seen as an attempt to discredit this movie.

I present this information for the sake of sharing what is true and what is false in this movie. This movie is being presented as truth, yet much of it is error. I seek to expose what is truth and what is error so people who see the movie can understand what parts of the story truly happened and are therefore important and part of the story of the Savior�s death. At the same time I wish to show which parts are inspired by false revelation supposedly revealed by God almost two thousand years after the writing of the Bible. The error adds elements to the story that detract from God�s glory and Christ�s purpose in suffering and dying.

Brief Biographical Sketch of Anne Catherine Emmerich

The following information is drawn primarily from the Catholic Encyclopedia. It is evident that her abilities are fiction, yet the Encyclopedia teaches they are fact.

Anne Catherine Emmerich was an Augustinian nun, stigmatic and ecstatic who was born in 1774 and died in 1824. She was forced to work from an early age and after a difficult twenty eight years of life entered the Augustinian convent at Agnetenberg, Dulmen. She soon began to display strange powers and ecstasies. Her convent was closed in 1812 and she was forced to find refuge in a poor widow�s house. In 1813 she became bedridden. It was during her long illness that her supernatural abilities became popular knowledge. Some of these abilities included conversing with the child Jesus, predicting future events, having knowledge of other people�s diseases and prescribing remedies that never failed. She soon experienced the stigmata with which she suffered for many years. In 1819 the poet Klemens Brentano visited her and she asked him to write down the many visions God had given her. In 1833 the “The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Meditations of Anne Catherine Emmerich” was released followed in 1852 by “The Life of The Blessed Virgin Mary.”

Six weeks after her death a rumor surfaced that her body had been removed from its grave. She was disinterred and it was discovered that her body had suffered no decay.

Emmerich�s visions are considered by the Roman Catholic Church to be private revelations and not public revelations. Therefore, not all Catholics are required to believe them and the Church has no official position on their accuracy or truth. They are widely accepted amongst Traditionalist Catholics and relatively unknown to other Catholics.

Emmerich�s Influence in The Passion of the Christ

The following table details many of the scenes in the movie that are not described in the Bible and shows, where I have been able to find out, where the inspiration came from. This is not an exhaustive list of all the extra-Biblical material presented in the movie.

The Passion of the Christ

The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Satan torments Jesus in the garden of

Chapter 1, pages

“But Satan, who was enthroned amid all
these horrors, and even filled with diabolical joy at the sight of
them, let loose his fury against Jesus, and displayed before the
eyes of his soul increasingly awful visions, at the same time
addressing his adorable humanity in words such as these: ‘Takest
thou even this sin upon thyself? Art thou willing to bear its
penalty? Art thou prepared to satisfy for all these sins?’”

Mary wakes up, sensing Jesus’s arrest

Chapter 1, page 116

“During this
agony of Jesus, I saw the Blessed Virgin also overwhelmed with
sorrow and anguish of soul, in the house of Mary, the mother of
Mark. She was with Magdalen and Mary in the garden belonging to
the house, and almost prostrate from grief, with her whole body
bowed down as she knelt. She fainted several times, for she beheld
in spirit different portions of the agony of Jesus.”

Chapter 11

“THE Blessed Virgin was ever united to
her Divine Son by interior spiritual communications; she was,
therefore, fully aware of all that happened to him—she
suffered with him, and joined in his continual prayer for his
murderers. But her maternal feelings prompted her to supplicate
Almighty God most ardently not to suffer the crime to be
completed, and to save her Son from such dreadful torments.”

Soldiers throw Jesus off a bridge

Chapter 3, page 131

“I saw our Lord fall twice before he
reached the bridge, and these falls were caused entirely by the
barbarous manner in which the soldiers dragged him; but when they
were half over the bridge they gave full vent to their brutal
inclinations, and struck Jesus with such violence that they threw
him off the bridge into the water”

Jesus’ abuse when before the priests.

“At this answer of Jesus the countenance
of Annas flushed with fury and indignation. A base menial who was
standing near perceived this, and he immediately struck our Lord
on the face with his iron gauntlet, exclaiming at the same moment,
‘Answerest thou the High Priest so?’ Jesus was
so nearly prostrated by the violence of the blow, that when the
guards likewise reviled and struck him, he fell quite down, and
blood trickled from his face on to the floor. Laughter, insults,
and bitter words resounded through the hall. The archers dragged
him roughly up again, and he mildly answered, ‘If 1 have
spoken evil. give
testimony of the evil; but if well, why
strikest thou me?’”

Flashback: Jesus, as a young carpenter, is at
home with Mary

During court scene, Mary prays, “It has
begun Lord. So be it.”

After thrice denying Jesus, Peter runs to Mary,
weeping and calling her, “Mother.”

Chapter 11, page 165

“Mary approached him instantly, and said,
‘Simon, tell me, I entreat you, what is become of Jesus, my
Son !’ These words pierced his very heart; he could not even
look at her, but turned away, and again wrung his hands. Mary drew
close to him, and said in a voice trembling with emotion: ‘Simon,
son of John, why dost thou not answer me?’—’Mother!’
exclaimed Peter, in a dejected tone, ‘0, Mother, speak not
to me—thy Son is suffering more than words can express:
speak not to me!’”

Mary walks about the now-emptied courtyard and
then falls with her face pressed to the floor, directly above the
cell in which Jesus is imprisoned

Chapter 11, page 166

“John, therefore, led her and the holy
women to the front of the prison where Jesus was confined. Mary
was with Jesus in spirit, and Jesus was with her; but this loving
Mother wished to hear with her own cars the voice of her Divine

Satan and his minions torment Judas

Chapter 5, page 144

“I beheld the traitor, Judas
Iscariot, wandering about, alone, and a prey to the tortures of
his guilty con-science; he feared even his own shadow, and was
followed by many devils, who endeavored to turn his feelings of
remorse into black despair.”

An effeminate Herod is depicted amidst cushions

Chapter 20, page 194

“Herod was
expecting them. He was seated on a pile of cushions, heaped
together so as to form a species of throne, in a spacious hall,
and surrounded by courtiers and warriors.”

Chapter 20, page 195

“the luxurious and effeminate prince
turned away in disgust, uttered the name of God, and said to the
priests in a tone of mingled pity and contempt, ‘Take him
hence, and bring him not back into my presence in such a
deplorable state.’”

Herod calls Jesus a fool and commands that
Jesus be given a fool’s homage

Chapter 20, page 197

“But he spoke in the most contemptuous
manner to Jesus, and turning to the guards and servants who
surrounded him, and who were about two hundred in number, said:
‘Take away this fool, and pay him that homage which is his
due; he is mad, rather than guilty of any crime.’”

The scourging scene is very similar to that
written by Emmerich. Jesus is scourged against a pillar in the
center of a courtyard. The scourging culminates with the use of
chains with barbs that tear chunks off his back. Jesus is then
rotated so the soldiers can scourge the other side. Mary is
prominent throughout the scene as if exhorting Jesus.

Chapter 22, page 206

“This pillar,
placed in the centre of the court, stood alone, and did not serve
to sustain any part of the building”

Chapter 22, page 206

trembled and shuddered as he stood before the pillar, and took off
his garments as quickly as he could, but his hands were bloody and
swollen. The only return he made when his brutal executioners
struck and abused him was to pray for them in the most touching
manner: he turned his face once towards his Mother, who was
standing overcome with grief; this look quite unnerved her: she
fainted, and would have fallen, had not the holy women who were
there supported her.”

Chapter 22, page 208

fresh executioners took the places of the last mentioned, who were
beginning to flag; their scourges were composed of small chains,
or straps covered with iron hooks, which penetrated to the bone,
and tore off large pieces of flesh at every blow. What word, alas!
could describe this terrible—this heartrending scene!

cruelty of these barbarians was nevertheless not yet satiated;
they untied Jesus, and again fastened him up with his back turned
towards the pillar. As he was totally unable to support himself in
an upright position, they passed cords round his waist, under his
arms, and above his knees, and having bound his hands tightly into
the rings which were placed at the upper part of the pillar, they
recommenced scourging him”

23, page 211

“I SAW the Blessed Virgin in a continual
ecstasy during the time of the scourging of her Divine Son; she
saw and suffered with inexpressible love and grief all the
torments he was enduring.”

During the scourging scene, Mary says, “My
son, when, where, how will you choose to be delivered from this?”

Pilate’s wife hands white linens to Mary,
who uses these to wipe Jesus’s blood from the floor

Chapter 23, page 211

“I saw Claudia
Procles, the wife of Pilate, send some large pieces of linen to
the Mother of God.”

Chapter 25, page 218

“Then it was that the Mother of Jesus,
accompanied by the holy women, approached the pillar and wiped up
the blood with which it and the ground around were saturated.”

Flashback: Mary Magdalene recalls Jesus
preventing her from being stoned and writing on the ground (this
is a misusage of John 8:1-11; the woman in this passage was never

Jesus prays, “I am your servant and the
son of your handmaid.”

Jesus falls multiple times while carrying the
cross (These correspond to the 3rd, 7th, and
9th Stations of the Cross. “The Stations of the
Cross are a popular Catholic devotion. Each of the fourteen
stations stands for an event which occurred during Jesus’ Passion
and death at Calvary on Good Friday. A person making the Stations
Of The Cross is to meditate about each event depicted at each
station, and pray.”

Chapters 31-33

Mary meets Jesus while on the way to Golgotha
(4th Station of the Cross)

Chapter 32

“Then came her beloved Son. He was almost
sinking under the heavy weight of his cross, and his head, still
crowned with thorns, was drooping in agony on his shoulder. He
cast a look of compassion and sorrow upon his Mother, staggered,
and fell for the second time upon his hands and knees. Mary was
perfectly agonised at this sight; she forgot all else; she saw
neither soldiers nor executioners; she saw nothing but her
dearly-loved Son; and, springing from the doorway into the midst
of the group who were insulting and abusing him, she threw herself
on her knees by his side and embraced him. The only words I heard
were, ‘Beloved Son!’ and ‘Mother!’”

Flashback: Mary remembers a time when Jesus (as
a child) fell and she came running with outstretched arms

The scene in which Simon of Cyrene is pressed
into service is very similar to that written by Emmerich. One of
Simon’s children is present. He is initially reluctant,
exhibiting great disdain towards Jesus. Simon soon after
experiences a change of heart.

Chapter 33

“At this moment Simon of Cyrene, a pagan,
happened to pass by, accompanied by his three children. He was a
gardener, just returning home after working in a garden near the
eastern wall of the city, and carrying a bundle of lopped
branches. The soldiers perceiving by his dress that he was a
pagan, seized him, and ordered him to assist Jesus in carrying his
cross. He refused at first, but was soon compelled to obey,
although his children, being frightened, cried and made a great
noise, upon which some women quieted and took charge of them.
Simon was much annoyed, and expressed the greatest vexation at
being obliged to walk with a man in so deplorable a condition of
dirt and misery; but Jesus wept, and cast such a mild and heavenly
look upon him that he was touched, and instead of continuing to
show reluctance, helped him to rise, while the executioners
fastened one arm of the cross on his shoulders, and he walked
behind our Lord, thus relieving him in a great measure from its

Veronica wipes Jesus’s face (6th
Station of the Cross; the cloth with the bloody face imprinted in
it is now a relic)


was the name of the brave woman who thus dared to confront the
enraged multitude; she was the wife of Sirach, one of the
councillors belonging to the Temple, and was afterwards known by
the name of Veronica, which name was given from the words vera
(true portrait), to commemorate her brave conduct on this

Seraphia had prepared some
excellent aromatic wine, which she piously intended to present to
our Lord to refresh him on his dolorous way to Calvary. She had
been standing in the street for some time, and at last went back
into the house to wait. She was, when I first saw her, enveloped
in a long veil, and holding a little girl of nine years of age
whom she had adopted, by the hand; a large veil was likewise
hanging on her arm, and the little girl endeavoured to hide the
jar of wine when the procession approached. Those who were
marching at the head of the procession tried to push her back; but
she made her way through the mob, the soldiers, and the archers,
reached Jesus, fell on her knees before him, and presented the
veil, saying at the same time, ‘Permit me to wipe the face
of my Lord.’ Jesus took the veil in his left hand, wiped his
bleeding face, and returned it with thanks. Seraphia kissed it,
and put it under her cloak. The girl then timidly offered the
wine, but the brutal soldiers would not allow Jesus to drink it.”

The scene of Jesus and Simon of Cyrene is very
similar to that written by Emmerich. Simon threatens to stop
helping if the soldiers continue in their cruelty, saying that he
will do so even if the soldiers kill him. Simon then places
Jesus’s arm across his shoulders, supporting him.

Chapter 35, page 243

“Their cruelty
to Jesus so exasperated Simon of Cyrene that he at last exclaimed,
‘If you continue this brutal conduct, I will throw down the
cross and carry it no farther. I will do so if you kill me for

Chapter 35, page 244

“Jesus was on the point of again falling,
but Simon, who was behind, perceiving that he could not stand,
hastened to support him; he leant upon Simon, and was thus saved
from falling to the ground.”

The scene in which Jesus is nailed to the cross
is very similar to that written by Emmerich. After the first hand
is nailed, Jesus’ other arm is stretched out with a
sickening crunch to reach the hole provided for the nail. The
soldiers also subject Jesus to more agony as they stretch his body
out to the wooden footrest that they placed too low.

Chapter 38, page 250

“The Blessed
Virgin stood motionless; from time to time you might distinguish
her plaintive moans; she appeared as if almost fainting from
grief, and Magdalen was quite beside herself. When the
executioners had nailed the right hand of our Lord, they perceived
that his left hand did not reach the hole they had bored to
receive the nail, therefore they tied ropes to his left arm, and
having steadied their feet against the cross, pulled the left hand
violently until it reached the place prepared for it. This
dreadful process caused our Lord indescribable agony, his breast
heaved, and his legs were quite contracted.”

Chapter 38, page 251

“The executioners had fastened a piece of
wood at the lower part of the cross under where the feet of Jesus
would be nailed, that thus the weight of his body might not rest
upon the wounds of his hands, as also to prevent the bones of his
feet from being broken when nailed to the cross. A hole had been
pierced in this wood to receive the nail when driven through his
feet, and there was likewise a little hollow place for his heels
These precautions were taken lest his wounds should be torn open
by the weight of his body, and death ensue before he had suffered
all the tortures which they hoped to see him endure. The whole
body of our Lord had been dragged upward, and contracted by the
violent manner with which the executioners had stretched out his
arms, and his knees were bent up; they therefore flattened and
tied them down tightly with cords; but soon perceiving that his
feet did not reach the bit of wood which was placed for them to
rest upon, they became infuriated. Some of their number proposed
making fresh holes for the nails which pierced his hands, as there
would be considerable difficulty in removing the bit of wood,
but the others would do nothing of the sort, and continued to
vociferate, ‘He will not stretch himself out, but we will
help him;’ they accompanied these words with the most
fearful oaths and imprecations, and having fastened a rope to his
right leg, dragged it violently until it reached the wood, and
then tied it down as tightly as possible. The agony which Jesus
suffered from this violent tension was indescribable; the words
‘My God, my God,’ escaped his lips, and the
executioners increased his pain by tying his chest and arms to the
cross, lest the hands should be torn from the nails. They then
fastened his left foot on to his right foot, having first bored a
hole through them with a species of piercer, because they could
not be placed in such a position as to be nailed together at once.
Next they took a very long nail and drove it completely through
both feet into the cross below, which operation was more than
usually painful, on account of his body being so unnaturally
stretched out”

As the cross is lifted up, Mary opens fists,
releasing pebbles she had been holding (perhaps in a gesture of

Jesus is depicted as having long hair and being
generally pleasing to the eye

Chapter 41, page 257

“The complexion of our Lord was fair,
like that of Mary, and slightly tinted with red; but his exposure
to the weather during the last three years had tanned him
considerably. His chest was wide, but not hairy like that of St.
John Baptist; his shoulders broad, and his arms and thighs sinewy;
his knees were strong and hardened, as is usually the case with
those who have either walked or knelt much, and his legs long,
with very strong muscles; his feet were well formed, and his hands
beautiful, the fingers being long and tapering, and although not
delicate like those of a woman, still not resembling those of a
man who had laboured hard. His neck was rather long, with a
well-set and finely proportioned head; his forehead large and
high; his face oval; his hair, which was far from thick, was of a
golden brown colour, parted in the middle and falling over his
shoulders; his beard was not any great length, but pointed and
divided under the chin.”

Mary begs, “Flesh of my flesh, heart of
my heart, my son, let me die with you.”

Chapter 43, page 259

“the Blessed Virgin, filled with intense
feelings of motherly love, entreated her Son to permit her to die
with him”

A soldier is showered by Jesus’ blood
after piercing His side

Chapter 48, page 276

“He seized his lance and rode quickly up
to the mound on which the Cross was planted, stopped just between
the cross of the good thief and that of our Lord, and taking his
lance in both hands, thrust it so completely into the right side
of Jesus that the point went through the heart, and appeared on
the left side. When Cassius drew his lance out of the wound a
quantity of blood and water rushed from it, and flowed over his
face and body. This species of washing produced effects somewhat
similar to the vivifying waters of Baptism: grace and salvation at
once entered his soul. He leaped from his horse, threw himself
upon his knees, struck his breast, and confessed loudly before all
his firm belief in the divinity of Jesus.”

Jesus’ body is lowered by the soliders and other men

Chapter 48, page 285

“Then Joseph and Nicodemus, having placed
ladders against the front of the Cross, in a very upright
position, and close to the body, untied the upper strap, and
fastened it to one of the hooks on the ladder; they did the same
with the two other straps, and passing them all on from
hook to hook, caused the sacred body to descend…”

Jesus’ body is lowered into Mary’s
arms and the camera focuses on Mary in the “Pieta pose”
before panning and fading out (this suggests Mary as a

50, page 285

the body was taken down it was wrapped in linen from the knees to
the waist, and then placed in the arms of the Blessed Virgin, who,
overwhelmed with sorrow and love, stretched them forth to receive
their precious burden.”

Chapter 51, page 286

“THE Blessed Virgin seated herself upon a
large cloth spread on the ground, with her right knee,
which was slightly raised, and her back resting against some
mantles, rolled together so as to form a species of cushion. No
precaution had been neglected which could in any way facilitate to
her—the Mother of Sorrows—in her deep affliction of
soul, the mournful but most sacred duty which she was about to
fulfil in regard to the body of her beloved Son. The adorable head
of Jesus rested upon Mary’s knee, and his body was stretched
upon a sheet. The Blessed Virgin was overwhelmed with sorrow and
love. Once more, and for the last time, did she hold in her arms
the body of her most beloved Son, to whom she had been unable
to give any testimony of love during the long hours of his
martyrdom. And she gazed upon his wounds and fondly embraced his
blood-stained cheeks, whilst Magdalen pressed her face upon his


Emmerich, Anne Catherine. The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Read It Online

I am indebted to a brother in Christ for doing much of the comparison between the movie and Emmerich’s book.

�I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book.�
Revelation 22:18