Correction: Pope Did Not Say, 'It is as it was'

( [email protected] ) Jan 22, 2004 12:18 PM EST

A report on Monday from the Catholic News Service quoted the papal secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz denying that the pope had earlier commented on the accuracy of the film The Passion of the Christ by saying, “It is as it was.”

Film producers said Dziwisz quoted the pope after watching the film’s screening with him.

Now, Dziwisz clarifies by saying that the pope "does not make judgments on art of this kind; he leaves that to others, to experts."

The Vatican press office, which usually confirms the official positions of the pope, has declined to neither confirm nor deny the pope’s alleged endorsement of the film said to have anti-Semitism message as it depicts the Jews as largely responsible for Jesus’ death.

"This office never comments on the private activities of the pope," Joaquin Navarro-Valls, John Paul's official spokesman, said Tuesday.