I received an email from my CES coordinator today. Attached to the email was a letter from the CES Administrators’ Council about The Passion. It reads:
We have received questions about Mel Gibson?s new movie, ?The Passion of the Christ.? The Church has not made an official statement regarding the movie. We have been given the pamphlet, For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God. We should encourage the youth to follow the standards explained in the pamphlet, including those regarding movies. Also, it would not be profitable to spend class time discussing the pros and cons of attending it. If students seem confused and want further guidance, please encourage them to talk with their parents and priesthood leaders. CES personnel, however, should refrain from taking a particular stance on specific movies when the Church has made no official statement.
The Church is in a tough position on issues like this, and asking CES personnel to refrain from taking a position seems entirely appropriate to me. On the other hand, avoiding classroom discussion? Admittedly, a discussion has the potential to get ugly, but I wonder about the long-term effects of our persistent failure to engage our youth. In working with the youth over the past several years, it has become clear to me that most of their leaders and teachers are very concerned about conveying information and much less concerned about developing skills for dealing with life’s inevitable ambiguities. We need those skills most “when the Church has made no official statement,” and cutting off this avenue of instruction seems like a missed opportunity.