Sucked into the Code

Sucked into the Code

My pastor asked me to be on a panel discussion on Friday night about The Book That Is Now The Movie. Yep, The Da Vinci Code. The problem is that I hadn’t read the book until now. Yep, I’d avoided it until now based on the expert recommendations of many fine folks, including my wife. But now I was cornered.

After all, my pastor knows that I am the editor of the finest Catholic newsmagazine (if I do say so myself), and in the May issue we have several articles by Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel on TBTISNTM. And that makes me an expert, right?

Happily, the discussion group is based on “The Da Vinci Deception”, by Mark Shea and Dr. Ted Sri (who I went to Steubenville with, incidentally), thus I have some solid support to stand on.

Still, it wouldn’t be right to present myself as any kind of authority if I didn’t read the book first, so I got a copy. And read about a quarter of it in a couple of hours last night. It’s not War and Peace. And I’m so very proud of myself because I only stopped to yell, “This is just idiotic. Who would believe this?” just a few times.

I can see why they’re making a movie about it. It is written like a script treatment and is very filmable. As for the content, while it’s not great literature it’s what I can an “airplane book,” something to read while you’re on a cross-country flight. Criticizing it based on its literary merits seems like a mistake to me. After all, people happily read all kinds of pulp, knowing from the start that it’s pulp. So immediately you’re going to have people thinking you’re just some kind of book snob. Instead, point out its obvious and numerous historical and religious flaws. I’m no medieval or patristic scholar and even I can find them on every page.

Should be a fun night on Friday. I plan on printing out every one of Amy’s cool responses to inane questions to have them at the ready. We’ll see what happens.

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  • Will attendees be limited to parishioners or open to the general public?  Shouldn’t be a wild-eyed bunch of heretics if it’s just your parish – unless their continuing religious studies have been limited to National Geographic.

  • Anyone can go although I expect it to be parishioners. I also don’t expect there to be a lot of Gnostic nonsense, but mainly stuff like “It’s just a book”.

  • I have not read the DiVinci Code, nor will I watch the movie, at least until I can do so without patronizing Dan Brown et al.

    However, having read up a little about it I get the impression that the Code would be a harmless fun brainless movie of the likes of National treasure if it wasn’t for the fact that its subject matter is the Faith, and the fact that it mixes half-truths, with popular steriotypes and urban legends, agenda based anti-church propaganda, and pure fantasy.

    For instance there was indeed a priory of Zion, started I believe in the 1950s by disgruntled communists.

    Opus Dei also is real enough, but other than the fact that its members tend to be well placed in the political, media, education and business worlds, most everything else in the book is false.

    The biggest inditment of the Code is a lack of understanding of what the gnostics were about.  The gnostics were dualists, they hated matter, and so it is hard to believe that they would promote the idea that Jesus, who they too acknowldged as the savior, would have been involved in a fleshly way with anyone. I mean many of the gnostics deny that Jesus had a real human body/nature, it seems hard to believe that somone who they thought only had the appearance of a body had sexual intercourse, nevermind a child.

    Its clear that Dan Brown chose the church as a topic, either for controversy and shock value or out of disdain for the Church, or both.  This is why Catholics shouldn’t watch the movie.

    Sadly in our information overloaded age I worry how many people will believe this crud.  There are so many weak minds.

    Its a shame that we can’t get a Catholic (Mel Gibson?)  to do one of these conspiricy theory flicks using one of Mike O’Brien novels (Fr. Elijah, Cry of Stone, Plague Journal, Sophia house, etc.)

  • Yea, it is very badly written, and so obvious. I got about a third of the way through and said forget it. I had been reading Graham Greene before then, and the contrast in writing ability was such that I couldn’t go on.

  • EWTN has Carl Olsen on EWTN Live tonight – Wednesday, May 3 – talking about the Da Vinci Hoax.

    8 pm eastern time