May 19, 2006


The Da Vinci Code movie

At the risk of giving it even more publicity than it has been receiving, we will alert you to the fact that The Da Vinci Code movie is scheduled for release this weekend. This will not come as breaking news since Sony Pictures Entertainment has succeeded in getting TV networks to publicize the movie for months now.

The movie, of course, is based on the phenomenally successful murder-mystery novel by Dan Brown, which has sold more than 40 million copies and has remained on the best-seller list for three-plus years. Since the movie stars Tom Hanks and is directed by Ron Howard, it’s expected that it, too, will rake in big bucks.

The problem is that, if the movie is true to the book, it will spread anti-Christian, and especially anti-Catholic, propaganda.

Although it’s fiction, many gullible readers have come to believe that some of the book’s claims are actually true. There’s no reason to believe that many of the movie’s viewers won’t do the same.

The book’s plot is a modern search for the Holy Grail. However, it turns out, the Holy Grail is not the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper. Rather, it is the remains of Mary Magdalene.

Why Mary Magdalene? Because she and Jesus were married and had a child together and their bloodline has continued to the present, the book’s plot says. This is a secret the Catholic Church has carefully kept hidden because, you see, Jesus intended Mary Magdalene—not Peter—to head his Church. Therefore, the male leaders of the Church made Mary out to be a prostitute.

As part of his proof of the relationship of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Brown’s character says that Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper shows Mary Magdalene—not the Apostle John—sitting to Jesus’ right. Since there are 13 figures in the painting, he doesn’t explain which of Jesus’ Apostles was left out.

According to Brown’s scenario, too, after Constantine became emperor and made Christianity his empire’s religion, he had all the early books about Jesus destroyed except the four Gospels because the other writings revealed Jesus’ relationship with Mary. In other words, according to Brown, all of Christianity is nothing but a vast conspiracy.

All this, of course, is utter nonsense. But Brown tries to make it believable by having his characters quote from other sources. Those sources actually exist, but experts have discredited them.

Opus Dei is also prominent in the book. It is Catholic, a personal prelature approved by Pope John Paul II and founded in Spain by Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá de Ballaguer, whom the late pope canonized in 2002. The Criterion published an article about Opus Dei in our March 31 issue.

In the book, and presumably in the movie, an Opus Dei monk (although Opus Dei doesn’t have any monks) practices severe penances—whipping himself and wearing a belt around his thigh with spikes that cut into his skin. The monk is trained to carry out murders as a matter of obedience—ridiculous, but people who think the worst about the Catholic Church believe it.

The Knights Templar are also shown in a bad light. Supposedly, this order was blackmailing Pope Clement V with the secret of the true Holy Grail so he had all the knights rounded up and burned as heretics. Historically, King Philip the Fair of France did that so he could confiscate the Templar’s property in France.

The book’s claims are outrageous, and Catholic publishers have published several books discrediting them. Amy Welborn wrote two books in response, for different audiences, and Indianapolis resident Sandra Miesel co-authored one.

Naturally, we hope that people won’t go to the movie, but we know that calls for boycotts usually don’t work. If you’re a movie-goer, though, you might think about going to a different movie this weekend. Hollywood screenwriter and blogger Janet Batchler has encouraged people to see Over the Hedge, which also opens this weekend.

As it demonstrated with this year’s Academy Awards, Hollywood is intent on ridiculing traditional Christian values. With The Da Vince Code, it is trying to undermine Christianity itself by presenting these canards as undeniable facts.

If you must see this film, just remember that it’s pure fiction and anti-Christian propaganda. Nothing more, nothing less.

—John F. Fink


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