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"The Da Vinci Code:" History as it Never Was

"The Da Vinci Code" tells about someone struggling to return the world to paganism and groovy living. Along the way, readers encounter a homicidal albino monk and a super-secret band of the rich and famous who perform big, important and esoteric ceremonies in French chateaux.

The novel, and the movie version coming out soon, are, to put it nicely, imaginative. The author assumes that Jesus and Mary Magdalene got married. And had children. Taking off from that odd idea, he tells how the early leaders of the Church tried to wipe out the record of how important Mary Magdalene was.

Never mind that the gospels show her as one of the women who got the first announcement of Christ's resurrection.

In "The Da Vince Code," the founders of the Church must have been the Keystone Kops of conspirators when it came to Mary Magdalene:

  • In John 20, 17-18, Jesus tells her to go tell the apostles that He is going to His Father
  • By the 8th century she had her own feast day had been established and was the most second most widely-revered saint of the Middle Ages (Mary held first place)
  • In Eastern Christianity one of her titles is "Apostle to the Apostles"

But that's real history, not the weird fictional world of "The Da Vinci Code." Even the actor who plays the Paris police detective Bezu Fache, Jean Reno, said that the novel's alternative history is "not the way it was in reality."

People like the author of "De-coding Da Vinci,"Amy Welborn, know enough to recognize that "‘The Da Vinci Code. is a mess, a riot of laughable errors and serious misstatements. Almost every page has at least one of each." But, because "The Da Vinci Code" talks about "historical" events that never happened, it can be a real danger to people who don't have a very solid understanding of the Church's history and the Christian faith.

That's one of the reasons that Catholic leaders, including the former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, want folks to stay away from the novel and movie. Cardinal Extevez said that Christians should not see "The Da Vinci Code," since the movie shows a "distorted, falsified and blasphemous image of Jesus Christ."

People, including an American priest of Opus Dei, John Wauck, and Monsignor Francis J. Maniscalco, got together to compare the weird world of "The DaVinci Code" with what has actually gone on for the last two thousand years. Their efforts are on the Web site

A copy of Sandra Miesel's "Dismantling the Da Vinci Code" is available at EWTN.

Facts for this article came from the Catholic News Agency, Catholic World News Brief, EWTN, and the U.S. Bishops. Catholic Communication Campaign of the USCCB (U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops)

Brian H. Gill, Editor, Sauk Centre K of C Bulletin

May 2006

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This page last updated December 19, 2010