Monday, May 15, 2006

Da Vinci Code: Questions

It looks like I'll be catching an advance screening of The Da Vinci Code, which threatens to be the biggest, most hyped, and maybe most profitable movie of the summer, if not the year.

Not having had the benefit of reading the novel, several questions come to mind:

1)Why is there such a big "controversy" over the movie among Christians? Don't people realize that Dan Brown's book, and the movie, are works of fiction? If someone's faith is damaged by reading the book or seeing the movie, then how much faith did that person have to begin with? It's just entertainment, folks.

2)Catholics, in particular, seem to be up in arms over the movie, with various groups threatening boycotts (always a way to stoke media attention, and, thus, ticket sales, which kind of defeats the purpose of a boycott). WHY do Catholic officials seem to be more disturbed over a Hollywood movie than they were over the rampant child sexual abuse within their ranks? Thousands of children were molested by priests, and hundreds of thousands of dollars were doled out in settlements. Only a handful of priests were punished. What gives?


Brigheon said...

As a vacillating Roman Catholic (blending between Anglican and Roman traditions), I too am puzzled by the Vatican's response to fiction. Do they really question the reasoning capabilities of the average human?

Granted, I am fond of saying "100, remember, 100...," referencing the average IQ.

I don't think the average moviegoer is going to think Silas represents the typical Catholic Opus Dei member. Nor do I think that the average moviegoer is going to equate Opus Dei with the average lay Catholic churchgoer. If they do, they have bigger issues.

Sigh, if only great works of fiction could incite such interest...

Philip Booth said...

Good points.

And, I'd have to add, if only the RC church (and other denominations) reserved their wrath for the most deserving issues/situations, rather than for Hollywood spectacle.

Ephrem said...

The book works by undermining the imagination's constructs of Christian reality.

Remember that Jesus "spoke only in parables." If you want to really change somebody's mind, aim not at the mind but at the imagination.

BTW, that is exactly what the newspapers did several years ago, by making it seem as though Catholic clergy were worse than anybody and everybody else in regards to child sex abuse. Of course it is terrible that ANY priest ever molested a child.
But this is a HUMAN problem, not a Catholic problem. Children are sexually abused by coaches, educators, and clergy of all religions--and by family members more than anyone.

The message of the book and movie is that the Church's sexual teaching is wrong, deceptive, sinister and harmful. Gee. Can you think of any group or groups that might want to get that message across?

Philip Booth said...

Certainly, child sexual abuse is a human problem, and RC priests are hardly the only abusers out there.

But the press isn't to be blamed for the widespread abuse of young children under the care of Catholic priests.

It's sad and incredibly shameful that the RC church responded by basically doing a cover up -- quietly reassigning abusers to other parishes (thereby making it possible for them to abuse again), paying out millions of dollars in settlements (rather than by turning
those priests in to the authorities) and, in some cases, blaming the victims.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Pope, the head of the worldwide church, ever publicly acknowledged the American sexual abuse scandal.