LATEST: Mel Gibson has banned Vatican officials from watching his controversial biblical movie The Passion Of The Christ until he has censored its violent scenes.

Catholic leaders had hoped to screen the movie at a convention on spirituality in film last night (2DEC03), but Gibson's production company has delayed releasing a final cut to The Vatican until it has been "softened".

The Passion Of The Christ - which is based on the last 12 hours in the life of Christ - has provoked controversy among Jewish groups, who fear the film blames Jews for Christ's death.

The Catholic Church is also concerned the movie could damage relations with the Jewish community.

Despite the delay, Gibson has assured The Vatican they will be granted a private screening of the film ahead of its general release next February (04).

03/12/2003 17:10