time_temp.gifA controversial new film on Christian-Jewish history called “Constantine’s Sword” will open in New York City during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit next week. NY1’s Shazia Khan filed the following report.

The Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side invited religious leaders for a special screening this week. Among the attendees was Sister Mary Boys, a professor at Union Theological Seminary and a woman active in Christian-Jewish dialogue. nicotinell

“What he narrates in that film happened,” she said. “We need to know about it, so that we make for a different church, and I think we are in a different church. And I want to be a part of a church that has the courage and the maturity to face its own history.”

“I think it is an ambitious film,” said Rabbi David Greenstein of the Academy for Jewish Religion. “I think that it hopefully can engender some very difficult discussion.”

Oscar-nominated documentarian Oren Jacoby directed, co-wrote, and co-produced the film. He says he and Carroll have received both praise and criticism, with some saying the film bashes Catholics.

“Pope John Paul II, in the year 2000, apologized to the world for what he saw as the sins of the Catholic Church,” said Jacoby. “All we’ve done in this film is lay out what those sins were that he was apologizing for and John Paul II was not a Catholic basher.”

Sister Boys says the film focuses too much on what was and not enough on how the church has changed.

“I think there is too little, both in the book and in the film, about the many, many people who have been involved in the last 50 or so years in trying to make a make a different future,” she said.

“Constantine’s Sword” is slated to open in the city next Friday, the same day Pope Benedict XVI arrives. Jacoby says the timing is a mere coincidence, but hopes the film’s premiere during the pontiff’s visit will stimulate interfaith discussion. online flomax

– Shazia Khan