thanks Vatican, but no thanks

The Da Vinci Code movie will be released on May 19. This movie, directed by Ron Howard, has brewed up a storm of controversy long before it even hit the theatres, due mostly to the book upon which it is based. So what’s all the fuss?

The Da Vinci CodeSome believe that the Catholic church has been covering up the true life of Jesus all these years. That Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that they had a daughter, a blood line that lives on today. Scholars talk about how unlikely it would have been for a 33-year-old man like Jesus to have not married, and that it simply makes sense that he had a wife. According to some, Dan Brown, the book’s author, is anti-Christian; he spreads slander and historical errors about Jesus and the Gospels. And this is only a brief synopsis of the controversy.

I don’t know the truth, and I won’t form my own opinion until I see the movie. But what upsets me most about this whole controversy is to hear people calling for a boycott of the movie, especially fellow Catholics, even Catholic officials. Isn’t this an issue that we should decide for ourselves? Shouldn’t we all be expected to form our own opinions, no matter if you’re Christian?

According to an article from Catholic News Service, Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave a speech at a Rome conference for church communications personnel sponsored by the Opus Dei-run University of the Holy Cross, on April 28, 2006. In his speech, Archbishop Amato said that Catholics should consider boycotting the film. I’ve also seen interviews of other Catholic priests calling for the boycott.

Why would we do that? Why would any Catholic boycott the film based solely on such a suggestion from a priest?

Carl Olson & Sandra Miesel authored a book called the Da Vinci Hoax to refute the facts claimed in the Da Vinci Code novel. They have also called for a boycott of the film, though they both say that they will indeed see the film for work purposes. Yeah, okay.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has even launched a new web site to refute the claims in the Da Vinci Code novel. What are they so worried about? That people will make up their own minds about this? Wouldn’t it be better if Catholics were to say, “yes, I agree with Vatican officials, the movie is trash…”? If we boycott it, all we can say is, “I don’t know, I didn’t see the movie because I’m not supposed to.”

This reminds me of those calls for boycotts of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. What a fantastic movie!

I’m not very comfortable having church officials from my own faith ramming their thoughts and beliefs into my brain. I’m a big boy now. Thanks, Vatican, for the advice, but no thanks. I’m very comfortable with my beliefs; I’ll see the movie and form my own opinion.

Whether you are Christian or not, Catholic or not, I encourage you to see this movie. Be informed, and whatever you do, make up your mind for yourself.

Comments 3

  • Carl Olson & Sandra Miesel authored a book called the Da Vinci Hoax to refute the facts claimed in the Da Vinci Code novel. They have also called for a boycott of the film, though they both say that they will indeed see the film for work purposes. Yeah, okay.

    Sandra and I have NEVER called for a boycott of the movie. When asked if we think Catholics should see the movie, we say, “No, we don’t think anyone should see this movie for entertainment purposes.” We have also made it clear that we are seeing the movie in order to fairly and accurately critique it, just as we did the novel. So please, please, please be accurate in what you are saying that we saying. Thanks!

  • I appreciate Carl Olson’s response to my blog entry. As I said in my original post, I won’t make up my mind until I see the movie myself. And, based on what I’ve heard so far, there’s a good chance that I will agree with Olson and Miesel’s book. But I do need to address Olson’s suggestion that I be accurate. First, I don’t dispute anything Carl Olson said in his response, and I have no reason to believe he is lying.

    Here’s the deal. I’m a cable news junkie. I watch many TV programs, especially those on Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, The History Channel and the like. I pay close attention to programs about politics and religion. I don’t recall what program I saw him and his co-author on; I’m quite sure it was just this past Wednesday (5/10) and both co-authors were on from different locations.

    That said, I do recall the host asking them if they are calling for a boycott of the movie. And if Mr. Olson did not use the term “boycott” in his response on the TV program, then I absolutely stand corrected. However, I do stand behind the spirit of my comments.

    Listen, we can play word games if you want. So, you’re not calling for a boycott, but you’re suggesting that no one should “see the movie for entertainment purposes”. Fine. I still disagree with that suggestion.

    We’re not talking about a comedy here that some people will find funny while others won’t. We’re not talking about the quality of the production or how good the actors are. You just can’t decide this one based on a thumbs up or a thumbs down in the newspaper.

    This is a serious movie about a subject matter that touches the heart and soul of millions of Christians (and even non-Christians) around the world. And whether you agree or disagree with Dan Brown or Carl Olson or Sandra Miesel or Archbishop Amato, I still suggest that we all see it. If for no other reason, do in order that you can “fairly and accurately critique it” for yourself.

  • Thanks for the comment, Scott.

    I agree with you that people should see the film and make up their own mind. Our family saw it recently and enjoyed discussing it’s claims – always bearing in mind that it is, of course, fiction.

    My wife who is an (Episcopalian) priest read the book and enjoyed it – a real page turner – and it was interesting to hear our 13 year old son’s views on the film. He seems to have appreciated the theological issues :)

    Basically I think churches should engage with “The Da Vinci Code” – after all, isn’t it a great opportunity to explain about Jesus and Christian belief?