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Cardinal Asks Catholics to Shun Da Vinci

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#1 Nonny

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 07:57 AM

Yahoo

Quote

Cardinal Asks Catholics to Shun Da Vinci Code

Wed Mar 16, 1:15 PM ET

  Entertainment - Reuters Celebrity/Gossip

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The cardinal leading the Vatican (news - web sites)'s charge against The Da Vinci Code urged Catholics on Wednesday to shun it like rotten food and branded the bestseller "a sack full of lies" insulting the Christian faith.

In an interview with Reuters inside the Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone also said Catholic bookstores should take the thriller off their shelves and accused U.S. author Dan Brown of "deplorable" behavior.

The novel is an international murder mystery centered on attempts to uncover a secret about the life of Christ that a clandestine society has tried to protect for centuries.

"Don't buy this. Don't read this because this is rotten food," said Bertone, the highest ranking Catholic churchman to speak out against the blockbuster.

"A lot of novels do good but this book is rotten food ... it does harm, not good," Bertone said in the 30-minute interview in the offices of the Vatican's doctrinal department.

"This book is a sack full of lies against the Church, against the real history of Christianity and against Christ himself," said Bertone, archbishop of northern Genoa.

The central tenet of the book is that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children. Christians are taught that Jesus never married, was crucified and rose from the dead.

"We can't keep quiet about the truth when faced with all the lies and all the inventions in this book," Bertone said.

"Some of the gross falsehoods include the treatment of the death and the resurrection of Christ, which is the central mystery of Christianity," he said.

His comments are significant because he is close to Pope John Paul (news - web sites) and until 2003 was deputy head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's most powerful office.

Speaking as one of the Church's top theologians, he said the book sows doubts and dangerous confusion among the faithful.

A central storyline in the book is that the Holy Grail is not the cup which Christ is said to have used at the Last Supper but the bloodline descended from Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

"I would ask the author of this book and similar ones to be more respectful because freedom of expression has limits when it does not respect others," he said.

"DEPLORABLE" BEHAVIOR FOR A WRITER

"I deplore this behavior ... Great writers did not behave this way," he said.

Brown's agent in New York said the author was "incommunicado" writing a new book and was not expected to reply to Bertone.

On his Web Site, Brown rejects anti-Christian charges, saying the novel explores "certain aspects of Christian history that interest me."

But Bertone called it "the latest in a series of devastating attacks against Christianity" and that he believed that similar attacks on other religions would not have been tolerated.

Bertone said he was stunned that Catholic bookstores, even those near the Vatican, were selling the book.

"It's impossible to pull the book off shelves of general bookstores ... but certainly not selling it in Catholic bookstores would be a good first step," he said.

Bertone, who was appointed a cardinal by Pope John Paul in 2003, also said he had received much encouragement from fellow bishops and cardinals for his campaign against the book.

"I am happy that a lot of people have been put on the alert and that I have sounded the alarm of vigilance against the spread of this book," he said.

"I have arrived too late. Millions of copies have been sold. I can't hope to slow down sales but at least to prompt a critical response," he said.

Bertone is so incensed about the novel that he will be the key speaker at a roundtable in Genoa on Wednesday night attempting to dismantle the book, which also claims the Church suppressed the female role in Christianity.

He rejected the assertion, saying: "The role of women in the Church is a primary one, starting from Mary, the mother of God."
And once this genius proves that Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction  :sarcasm:  :sarcasm:  :sarcasm:  :sarcasm:  :sarcasm: , maybe he'll set about to prove that The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine isn't.  :angry:  

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#2 WildChildCait

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 08:10 AM

it's a book. A novel. Fiction.

And the religious higherups condemning it is just as sad, imho as them condeming harry potter books...

besides, who's to say the author might not be right on some aspects?
after all, Catholicism is just one way christianity is taught.
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#3 Hawkeye

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 08:12 AM

^There was quite a good program on lately presented by Baldrick...I mean Tony Robinson where they investigated the claims not only in the Da Vinci Code, but in other theories as well. The general conclusion was that each theory, including the Da Vinci Code, made claims that were pretty suspect.

But anyway. This is a work of fiction isn't it? or does the writer claim that its fact? I have to admit i havent read the book, although it sounds interesting. People have questioned and debated the various aspects of all religions for centuries. I dont really see what makes this book so different.

Edited by hawkeye, 17 March 2005 - 08:15 AM.

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#4 Godeskian

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 08:17 AM

there was an old, old joke that if you wanted a bestseller, then you should make sure it gets banned and condemned when it comes out.

People love to taste the forbidden fruit, the Catholic church shoul;d know that better than most.

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#5 WildChildCait

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 08:24 AM

Miau, Steven, that is catty! ;-)
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#6 Rhys

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 08:25 AM

The real problem here is the lack of critical thinking in the general public.  Yes, this is a work of fiction.  Too many people are willing to believe whatever they read and/or see, though, if it's presented as vaguely historical.

I'm not saying this individual's view isn't rather extreme, but I do understand where he's coming from.

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#7 Nonny

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 08:35 AM

Rhys, on Mar 17 2005, 05:25 AM, said:

Too many people are willing to believe whatever they read and/or see, though, if it's presented as vaguely historical.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hence my anger about The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.  :)

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#8 Nonny

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 08:37 AM

Steven_Q, on Mar 17 2005, 05:17 AM, said:

there was an old, old joke that if you wanted a bestseller, then you should make sure it gets banned and condemned when it comes out.

People love to taste the forbidden fruit, the Catholic church shoul;d know that better than most.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Wo!  Good one!  Two good ones!  :hehe:

Dang, gotta go, gonna be gone a few days, I would get a good topic going on my way out the door, wouldn't I?  :blush:

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All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#9 sierraleone

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 09:44 AM

You know, know I'm thinking I want to read this book (though before I knew absolutely nothing but that title and it was about Catholicism sort of) ... Heck, even my Catholic mother says she is interested.... But she knows the difference between fiction and reality.... and even if I did think some of it might be true (heck the story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene have been around for quite some time), it woudln't ruin my faith, people and organization can get history wrong. Alternative histories thought are always fun C:

As for Harry Potter: I don't recall the higher-ups in the Catholic church condemming it... is my memory falty, or is wasn't it they regular Catholics and Christains condemming HP, maybe w/ a few Priests....
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#10 QueenTiye

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 09:59 AM

The interesting thing to me is how frequently we assume that everyone BUT the religious has a right to freedom of expression.  This work of fiction is not just being touted as fiction - it is being touted as a fictional account of true history.  MANY people have bought into "The Code" as if it has some basis in reality, and, because it is presented as a work of fiction, many of the critical problems with the information used to craft the work are NOT criticized with the kind of scrutiny that would be necessary in a non-fiction book.  

I am glad that the Catholic church is speaking up about this.  Having not read the book, I don't know who is right or wrong (but I did see the special on t.v. which showed that most of the claims were rather iffy, and I also came across some information about the so called "Priory of Sion" which really challenges the validity of the central claims of the book), but I am thrilled to see someone stand up and call for vigorous debate and public awareness that there are indeed more ways to look at this than the one presented by the book.

Similarly, it baffles me that people don't see the point of view of Christians protesting Harry Potter books.  Agree or disagree, people with concerns about devilishment being foisted upon unsuspecting children have plenty of reason to be concerned about Harry Potter books.  Indeed, I am concerned that a substantial amount of the books produced for consumption by kids in the Harry Potter age range (Series of Unfortunate Events,  Artemis Fowl) are so overwhelmingly unpleasant in so many respects.  Of course I'm hypersensitive - my son is not in the right age range for the books, but is reading on that level, and so, gets these on a regular basis. Yes.  I worry about his mental diet.  Perhaps the Christian groups who protest these kinds of books are shrill to the point of ridicule, but who speaks for their point of view if they don't?

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#11 Zwolf

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 10:43 AM

Quote

there was an old, old joke that if you wanted a bestseller, then you should make sure it gets banned and condemned when it comes out.

******* It's not even a joke, it's just good marketing strategy!  :)  The Sex Pistols once had a #1 hit in the UK with "God Save The Queen," but the album had been banned at the time and you couldn't hear the song anywhere.  They wouldn't even print the name of it in the paper, so the #1 slot just had a black bar next to it.  And they're still raking in big bucks from it... :)

To me, the whole thing's a work of fiction concerning another work of fiction, so it's doubly funny.  But it's a little late to hurt sales of that book.  The Harry Potter thing is also hilarious.  My mom teaches Sunday School (and she knows I'm the Antichrist, yet we get along anyway - it's strange ;) ) and some lady that goes there started railing against the Harry Potter books.   My mom thought that was ignorant (the creationists crack her up, too) because she's actually read the books... so she asked that lady what her kids read, instead, and the lady said, "They don't read anything.  We try and try to motivate them, but they just don't like reading." and went on to complain that the kids are doing horribly in school.  Mom just shrugged and the lady went back to calling Harry Potter "evil."  Ya can't help some people.  Something similar went on with a friend of mine in the early grades.  His mom didn't approve of comic books and wouldn't let them have them... but at the same time would ask my mom what she did to get my reading skills jacked up so high.  I could read when I was two years old, partially 'cuz of PBS but mostly 'cuz I wanted to know what Spiderman was saying... :)  I remember sneaking that kid a Justice League of America comic book and he re-read that thing 'til it was falling apart.  His mom missed the boat on that one, big time.

Anyway, if these people are scared of The DaVinci Code, they've got way too much time on their hands.   Their warnings are likely to have little effect, anyway.  It'll make as many people want to read it as it will scare people off.  Anything forbidden is usually highly sought-after...

Cheers,

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#12 Godeskian

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 10:49 AM

Apologies, i missed the second quote i intended to ad

Handmaiden07, on Mar 17 2005, 03:59 PM, said:

but I am thrilled to see someone stand up and call for vigorous debate and public awareness that there are indeed more ways to look at this than the one presented by the book.

Quote

The cardinal leading the Vatican (news - web sites)'s charge against The Da Vinci Code urged Catholics on Wednesday to shun it like rotten food and branded the bestseller "a sack full of lies"

Quote

"It's impossible to pull the book off shelves of general bookstores ... but certainly not selling it in Catholic bookstores would be a good first step," he said.

he's not calling for debate, he's calling for censorship.

Edited by Steven_Q, 17 March 2005 - 11:00 AM.

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#13 Kevin Street

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 11:40 AM

Philip Pullella said:

"I would ask the author of this book and similar ones to be more respectful because freedom of expression has limits when it does not respect others," he said.
:eek4:

Quote

...But Bertone called it "the latest in a series of devastating attacks against Christianity" and that he believed that similar attacks on other religions would not have been tolerated.
But isn't that a good thing? To me, the popularity of "Da Vinci Code" would seem to indicate a willingness on the part of its readers to question basic aspects of doctrine, and that's nice to see. People with lively, open minds question everything, and if many Catholics are reading the book and questioning their faith in this way it says something good about the modern Catholic Church. Imo. Closed faiths that do not permit criticism and examination (like some of the ones the Cardinal refers to) help no one.

I haven't actually read this book, but the things mentioned in the quoted article don't sound all that original. Writers like Garth Ennis and Gore Vidal have used similar ideas before and no one seemed to care.
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#14 Jid

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 11:50 AM

Personally, the only real problem I have with Dan Brown's books is that he starts each one with the claim "The story is fictional, but all the stuff in it is accurate" (my paraphrase) - which is rather misleading in several ways.  (He claims this in both his books that deal with the Catholic Church: Angels & Demons, and The DaVinci Code)

Hence why in addition to still finding the DaVinci Code for sale everywhere, you find no less than three books all claiming to sift through the book and analyze all its claims.  

(And while the story is somewhat interesting, these books look far more interesting, simply because you get to avoid the poor characterization (IMO) the books have.  Dan Brown spins a good yarn, but his characters are pretty lame.)
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#15 Bad Wolf

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 11:52 AM

Um....HOW long has this book been out?  Isn't asking folk to shun it now a bit of closing the barn door after the chickens have flown?

The Church seems to have no limits when it comes to earning my disrespect.  

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#16 NeuralClone

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 12:01 PM

Jid, on Mar 17 2005, 11:50 AM, said:

Personally, the only real problem I have with Dan Brown's books is that he starts each one with the claim "The story is fictional, but all the stuff in it is accurate" (my paraphrase) - which is rather misleading in several ways.  (He claims this in both his books that deal with the Catholic Church: Angels & Demons, and The DaVinci Code)

Hence why in addition to still finding the DaVinci Code for sale everywhere, you find no less than three books all claiming to sift through the book and analyze all its claims. 

(And while the story is somewhat interesting, these books look far more interesting, simply because you get to avoid the poor characterization (IMO) the books have.  Dan Brown spins a good yarn, but his characters are pretty lame.)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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#17 Cheile

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 12:49 PM

:rolleyes:

as a Christian myself, it irks me when religious figures (or loud-mouthed, prejudiced conservatives who should keep quiet) make the rest of us look bad.  reading one FICTION book is NOT going to make people believe every word of it.  i know plenty of Christians who are avid Harry Potter fans and it has not swayed them from their faith.

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#18 Godeskian

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 12:57 PM

Actaully, it's a little worrying how little faith this Cardinal seems to have in his flock.

#19 Ilphi

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 12:57 PM

With the movie in development also, the Catholic Church, as Steven and others have noted, have just handed any shameless promoters a huge selling point. "The Catholic Church tried to ban it? Huh! I guess Brown might really be onto something!" Sitting down and shutting up is the only smart way to handle it, and to do it at such a late phase, half-heartedly and partically patronisingly (I heard clips from their convention this morning), they've made a real pigs ear of it. But to be honest, that's what I've come to expect from the Vatican.
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#20 Kevin Street

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 01:08 PM

Cheile said:

:rolleyes:

as a Christian myself, it irks me when religious figures (or loud-mouthed, prejudiced conservatives who should keep quiet) make the rest of us look bad.  reading one FICTION book is NOT going to make people believe every word of it.  i know plenty of Christians who are avid Harry Potter fans and it has not swayed them from their faith.

I agree with the last thing you said, reading one novel isn't going to make people abandon their faith - but I can't really agree with the first statement. Just because the Cardinal seems to be a religious conservative and has concerns about this book doesn't make him loud mouthed or prejudiced. On the contrary, his statement of those concerns is itself part of the the public dialog and is a good thing. After all, if it's healthy to question the church, it's also healthy to question the books we read and the secular ideas we hold. If the Cardinal actually had the power to pull "Da Vinci Code" out of the bookstores that would be another matter entirely, but all he can really do is express his opinion, and everybody is entitled to that.



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