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Passion-Related Deaths

Pastor Dies Watching ‘Passion of Christ’ Mar 23, 2004

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (Reuters) – A Brazilian pastor died of an apparent heart attack while watching the Mel Gibson film “The Passion of the Christ,” witnesses say.

Jose Geraldo Soares, a 43-year-old Presbyterian pastor, had reserved two movie theaters at a Belo Horizonte shopping mall on Sunday afternoon to see the film with his family and the congregations of two local churches.

But halfway through the movie, Soares’ wife noticed that he was no longer awake. A doctor who was also watching the film tended to Soares, but the priest was already dead.

“He was calmly watching the movie next to his wife,” said Amauri Costa, a family friend who also attended Soares’ funeral on Monday.

Soares is at least the second person to die while watching “The Passion,” which opened in Brazil on Friday. Peggy Scott, 56, died of a heart attack on Feb. 25 in Wichita, Kansas while watching film’s climactic crucifixion scene.

The film, which was praised by Catholic leaders in Brazil as a faithful depiction of events in the Bible, has been criticized by many for its violent and bloody portrayal of Christ’s final hours.

I wonder. Many, many millions have seen this movie now. It seems that if 2 people die out of the 10 or 20 million who have seen it, that probably isn’t worth putting in the news. I find it hard to believe that mortality rate is any different from any other movie. After all, people have to die somewhere…


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