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Cracking The Da Vinci Code
6/14/2005 10:57:00 AM - www.catholic.com
What is The Da Vinci Code?
The Da Vinci Code is a novel. Its publisher, Doubleday, released it with much fanfare in March 2003 and heavily promoted it. As a result, it debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and has remained on it since, selling millions of copies. The publisher claims that it is "the bestselling adult novel of all time within a one-year period."
So popular has The Da Vinci Code become that it has created a marketing boom for books related to the novel, and it has become the subject of a major motion picture scheduled to be released in 2005.
What is The Da Vinci Code About?
It is a thriller story involving secret societies, conspiracies, the Catholic Church, and the fictional "truth" about Jesus Christ. Here is the author's own summary:
A renowned Harvard symbologist is summoned to the Louvre Museum to examine a series of cryptic symbols relating to Da Vinci's artwork. In decrypting the code, he uncovers the key to one of the greatest mysteries of all time . . . and he becomes a hunted man.1
During the course of the novel it is alleged that the Catholic Church is perpetuating a major, centuries-long conspiracy to hide the "truth" about Jesus Christ from the public, and it or its agents are willing to stop at nothing, including murder, to do so.
What does Leonardo da Vinci have to do with the story?
Da Vinci is portrayed as a former head of the conspiracy guarding the "truth" about Jesus Christ. In the novel he is said to have planted various codes and secret symbols in his work, particularly in his painting of the Last Supper. According to the novel, this painting depicts Jesus' alleged wife, Mary Magdalene, next to him as a symbol of her prominence in his true teaching. In reality, the figure that Dan Brown identifies as Mary Magdalene is John the Evangelist, who traditionally has been regarded as the youngest of the apostles and so is often pictured in medieval art without a beard.
Why should a Catholic be concerned about the novel?
Although a work of fiction, the book claims to be meticulously researched, and it goes to great lengths to convey the impression that it is based on fact. It even has a "fact" page at the front of the book underscoring the claim of factuality for particular ideas within the book. As a result, many readers-both Catholic and non-Catholic-are taking the book's ideas seriously.
The problem is that many of the ideas that the book promotes are anything but fact, and they go directly to the heart of the Catholic faith. For example, the book promotes these ideas:
Jesus is not God; he was only a man.
Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.
She is to be worshiped as a goddess.
Jesus got her pregnant, and the two had a daughter.
That daughter gave rise to a prominent family line that is still present in Europe today.
The Bible was put together by a pagan Roman emperor.
Jesus was viewed as a man and not as God until the fourth century, when he was deified by the emperor Constantine.
The Gospels have been edited to support the claims of later Christians.
In the original Gospels, Mary Magdalene rather than Peter was directed to establish the Church.
There is a secret society known as the Priory of Sion that still worships Mary Magdalene as a goddess and is trying to keep the truth alive.
The Catholic Church is aware of all this and has been fighting for centuries to keep it suppressed. It often has committed murder to do so.
The Catholic Church is willing to and often has assassinated the descendents of Christ to keep his bloodline from growing.
Catholics should be concerned about the book because it not only misrepresents their Church as a murderous institution but also implies that the Christian
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