Pushing the Da Vinci Code at Boston College

Pushing the Da Vinci Code at Boston College

The associate editor of America magazine, Fr. Jim McDermott, SJ, led a discussion at Boston College on “The Da Vinci Code” and the Catholic Church. The headline says the lecture was to “demystify” the book and the Church, but I’m not sure what they mean.

From the story, it looks like the ridiculous assertions of the book were not refuted, but were instead used as platforms to allow participants to expand Dan Brown’s themes to coincide with their own heterodox opinions on the Church’s teachings like the male priesthood.

McDermott began the lecture by addressing the fact that although The Da Vinci Code was released as a novel almost three years ago, there is still frequent discussion of it today.

Continuing conversations stem from its relevance today, as it addresses issues such as secrets and power in the church’s hierarchy, the role of women in the church, and Jesus’ identity and sexuality, while also addressing the division and polarity in the church, said McDermott.

His sexuality? The only people for whom Jesus’ sexuality is a concern are those who want to advance blasphemous notions of Jesus’ identity in order to bolster their own heterodox arguments. And lest we be lulled into thinking that McDermott was there to debunk “The Code,” he gives a hint right away that this is not the case.

“I think it’s interesting that The Da Vinci Code speaks to gaps in our knowledge, while also illuminating the things we do know from our own experiences,” said McDermott. “We’ve all had serious relationships, maybe even some marriages and divorces, and kids. The church needs this wisdom, and I think The Da Vinci Code speaks to the cry that Catholics have to be heard.”

The only way in which Dan Brown’s second-rate novel speaks to gaps in our knowledge is to expose quite clearly how poorly educated most people are about their faith and about history because they swallow his purple prose hook, line, and sinker.

Incidentally, the lecture was part of BC’s ongoing “Church in the 21st Century” program that, in the guise of dialogue between factions, advances the notion that heterodoxy and dissent is a legitimate option for Catholics.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • I am wondering with the greatest of charity possible whether Fr. John McD suffers from “gaps” caused by a malfunctioning corpus callosum.  And what excatly are the good father’s credentials in the areas of “relationships, maybe even some marriages and divorces, and kids.”?

    The only “cry” that faithful Catholics are issuing is that of forgiveness for the bizarre mind of this unfortunate priest and his associates.

  • The head of C21, Dr. Tim Muldoon, gave a talk Tuesday night in a series called Agape Latter, our version of theology on tap.  “The Heights”, a paper on campus, covered it saying,

    “In response to concerns about reconciling some of the church’s more controversial stances on issues like women’s roles and homosexuality with personal religious views, Muldoon responded from both a historical and personal standpoint.

    “Pointing out that it took the church hundreds of years to get the distinction between Jews and Greeks correct and another thousand or so to straighten out the slavery issue, he emphasized the fact that eventually the church always tends to hit on the correct approach and will continue to develop its stance toward the issues it struggles with today. In addition, Muldoon suggested it may be the social responsibility of the current generation to help in the effort to get these questions right sooner rather than later. “

    The article can be viewed by anyone by going to bcheights.com and going to “Over lattes, students talk faith and God”

  • In other words, the Church will eventually get it “right” on homosexuality and priestesses by changing to reflect the views of those who want such things.

    Illustrative. The guy in charge is advocating heterodoxy and dissent.

  • From his blog, “The Spoon at the Ocean”

    “I live in a world that constantly calls attention to the fact that only men are priests, and to the Church’s attitudes toward homosexuals, and to the Church’s positions on birth control, and so on. How, I am asked, can I participate in an institution that has misused its power so egregiously over the ages? My short answer: I cannot let what is wrong with the Church eclipse what is right with the Church.”

    What worries me is that C21’s foundation is considered Leahy’s greatest achievement, yet how can a group about bringing the Catholic Church in the 21st century exist when it is headed by someone is not thoroughly Catholic?  (In his defense, Muldoon is a nice guy and he at least doesn’t persecute orthodox Catholics like some people here in campus ministry do.)

  • Tim,

    I attended most of those C21 events but as many good things C21 does, there are just as many bad things.  Think of the conference “Our Church, Our Faith, Our Future” where the talk on spirituality included a comment that “prayer, in the traditional sense, of talking with God is no longer necessary.  Things such as ballet are our prayers.”  Or, there is always the keynote address in which the nun essentially said that dissent is what keeps the Church young and that pretty much everything after Nicea was up for grabs.  The event also included a Mass in which I felt the Eucharist so mocked that I wanted to cry. 

    And as I said, what is good is that you do not persecute orthodox Catholics, which is something I cannot say about others on campus.  I don’t know you very well, so I’m not judging you as a person.  I just know the types of things that C21 has sponsored have not always been the best types of events that should be promoted as the future of the Church.

  • Such theological disputes are only constructive when there is an acknowledged authority who propound upon the Truth and when the Truth is made known all the disputants set aside their disagreement. The problem is that the matters of dissent have already been proclaimed and promulgated and the dissenters continue their dissent.

    There’s no sense trying to pretend for their sakes that Truth is not what it is.

    What you propose is a form of relativism. Primacy of conscience elevated to the level you propose is a form of idolatry and self-divination.

  • Tim, I don’t disagree that we need to reach people where they are at.  But, does that mean sacrificing Truth to do it?  Isn’t it problematic that at the “Our Church, Our Faith, Our Future” conference, I was told that prayer was not important by the speaker from Regis (not the sister)?  The female campus minister from Harvard had the same problem with it that I had: that’s the exact no-Jesus Gospel that has lost so many souls. 

    A close friend of mine is a recent convert.  The guy who brought her to the faith just e-mailed her to say he is leaving the Church because he can’t find a Mass like the one he was used to on BC’s campus.  This is what BC is preparing its students for.  While unrelated to C21, the attitude is the same, based on the Mass done at that conference.

    The C21 Institute could be something great but as long as those in charge continue to promote the belief that Church teachings are up for grabs, it won’t be.  I remember when someone at that same conference, the keynote speaker, whose audio is on the website, advocated dissent.  Boston Faithful Seeking Understanding was founded by students in response to the horror at that confernece.  We’re exactly about promoting the Truth while helping people where they are at through dialogue.