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Sunday, May 07, 2006
From Barb's Mail Bag
Ms. Barbara Nicolosi,

Just the devil here. But my eyes don't flash unnaturally.

[Note from Barb: Okay. Taking you at your word here....]

Not wanting to debate either. A copy of your article relating to the Da Vinci Code movie appeared in my email.

I have noticed that the Catholic community, with a few notable exceptions, seems to have circled the wagons and refuses to do a soul searching or acknowledge the somewhat sordid past of the Church.

[NOTE FROM BARB: In truth, I have never met a devout, committed Catholic who does not acknowledge any and all of the real past sins of the Church. We see the surviving of these sins as proof that the Church is real. What merely human institution could survive some of the dreadful humans that have been members of the Church? In every sin of ecclesiastical history I hear the echo of Christ's promise, "MY Church....And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."]

I admit that I read "banned" books.

[NOTE FROM BARB: Huh? Who bans books...except the radical left academic establishment? If your church is banning books you should leave it. And become a Catholic for God's sake!]

I am not afraid of challenging myself and my beliefs, and keeping an open mind.

[NOTE FROM CHESTERTON: Those with open minds tend to leave their brains poured out all over the side-walk....NOTE FROM BARB: When exactly should a mind close on a subject? Ever? How many times does your wife need to tell you she loves you before you close your mind on the subject and believe her?...And honestly, judging from your writing style and arguments here, you should be - if not afraid - a little more careful about the conclusions of your unaided intellect.]

During Jesus' ministry, he did exactly that as well. He upset the status quo. He tried to change the prevailing attitudes, especially the dangers of a politicized Church hierarchy.

[NOTE FROM HEAD-SCRATCHING HISTORIAN: Um, there was no "Church" around for Jesus to try and change. He IS the Church always. He certainly took on the Jewish establishment, but He did it as an observant Jew... NOTE FROM FRANK SHEED: So you are just like Jesus? Well, would you mind making a rabbit, just for confidence sake?]

I would have been one of the people burned at the stake in past history because of your Church and its intolerance.

[NOTE FROM BARB: Wow. So you must be really out there as a Truth Crusading celebrity today? Funny, I haven't heard of you... Did dumb old God make you miss your moment of history? Hate when that happens. You just have to spend your life sulking, I guess.]

Dan Brown wrote a great NOVEL.

[NOTE FROM ANYBODY WHO LIKES GOOD LITERATURE: (Sigh.) Do not pass the fifth grade. Do not collect a high school diploma. Go directly to literature jail.]

During my readings of many books (mainstream and alternative)...

[NOTE FROM BARB: What exactly is an alternative book? Is that a scroll?...Do you mean secular and religious? Populist and scholarly? Historical and fanciful?]

I have found traces of "shenanigans" when it comes to the "TRUTH" as portrayed in the Bible, caused by editorial changes early in the Church's History.

[NOTE FROM ST. JEROME: Then you're smarter than me. But wait, I know me. I'm a friend of mine. You are no me!]

Many of the books I have read are from reputable religious writers, theologians, and professors of Biblical history.

[NOTE FROM JOE DRAGNET: The names here are being left out to protect the reputable.]

No one alive today was there when the writers of the Gospels penned the original version.

[NOTE FROM BARB: Ah, see, the crux. This is not true. For me, God was alive when the writers of the Gospels penned them. It's because He is the same today as yesterday and will be forever that the Gospels will out live both you, writer, and me....Please take two doses of mystery and call a real Biblical scholar in the morning.]

There are obvious errors, not only in historical facts, as well as theological differences and documented tampering, that have made what most people today consider the New Testament a "Novel" as well.

[NOTE FROM BARB: Well, we disagree. But you have to grant that this particular "novel" has had an astounding track record. It has managed to be at the center of billions of peoples' lives for 2,000 years. This "novel" has led millions of people to forsake all else and give their lives completely over to its example of life. That's something that Homer and Shakespeare - as miraculous as they are - cannot claim. So, maybe, just out of respect here, you can call the Gospels "Mr." Novel?]

I believe that searching for truth, and being willing to challenge one's beliefs, is beneficial to all of us.

[NOTE FROM BARB: I believe that arriving at truth is much more beneficial to us all. Although, I will grant that YOUR challenging of your beliefs will be very beneficial for you.... Let it go, brother. You are taking on the Lord of History. He wins. Always.]


All kidding with my mailbag aside, there is an insidious error peeking out from between the lines of the above message that needs the light of day. It's time to talk turkey, fellow Christians.

It has been suggested to me many times in the last year, that the reason some non-Catholic Christians have been so willing to sell DVC for Sony Pictures, and why some pastor types have been cheerily encouraging Christians to see the film with tolerance and a good sense of humor, and why the few angry-dissident Catholics who are shrugging at the film are so pleased to do so, comes down to inner, unrepentant anti-Catholic bigotry. This latent anger against the Catholic Church also explains the weird kind of glee in some non-Catholic Christians who have been "looking forward to the opportunity" that this clearly blasphemous movie represents.

This writer above certainly betrays this kind of sentiment.

One does have to wonder why The Last Temptation of Christ received such a universal anathema from believers, but DVC is something that some of our fellow Christians want us we all to see and brood over.

We need to be very clear here: The Da Vinci Code is much, much worse than The Last Temptation of Christ in the errors that it contains. Last Temptation was wrangling with what being a God-Man really looked like. Da Vinci Code asserts that there was no God in Christianity's God-Man.

Having read the script, one of the things that I found particularly disgusting was the way in which screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (interpreting Dan Brown) continuously sets the Roman Catholic Church up against "true" Christianity. We are led to believe that Jesus wanted Christianity to be something else completely - a goddess cult - but that the "Roman" Catholic Church (why do so many non-Catholics always have to use that "Roman" word like it is some kind of disease?) co-opted the regular-Joe guy, Jesus, and corrupted his merely "happy thoughts" by making him God and creating a subversive political institution around him.

It is worth some serious discussion as to why the Catholic Church - among all Christendom - merits such hatred and persecution from the secular powers that be. Hmmmm... What do you all think?

But anyway, those Christians with anti-Catholic bigotry in their veins who are getting dark jollies out of watching the Catholic Church get trashed in DVC need to take a step back and stop scratching their painful, always inflamed rash - "Hurts so good!" - to feel the real pain of biting off noses to spite faces. As a Catholic friend remarked to me recently, completely dismayed by the warm embrace that DVC has found in some Christians, "They seem to hate the Catholic Church more than they hate blasphemy against Christ." Hard to hear? Definitely.

If the Catholic Church is the red circle in the center of Dan Brown's/Sony Pictures sights, know that the rest of Christendom makes up the rest of the target. In making "the Vatican" the bad guy, DVC goes further and says that this particular villain made up the Bible and the Person of Christ. Do you see how that is a hit on the whole kit and kaboodle of us? It's not subtle, but as a friend of mine likes to say, "Sin makes people crazy." In this case, the sin is anti-Catholic bigotry.

It's just one more sign that this book and now movie are straight from hell that they are causing such division in the Christian community. "By their fruits you shall know them."

P.S. I do not want this post to turn into an internecine battle of Catholic vs. non-Catholic Christians. I do want my non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters to hear the real pain and sorrow that many of us are feeling over what seems by many to underlie support of this film. But please, try and keep the comments fee of anger and prosletyzing.