Thursday, March 11, 2004


My father, a naval historian, is fond of repeating that one of the secrets of successful warfare is choosing your battles. In 2003, I enlisted in the Defensor Passionis cause - mainly because I thought it was criminal that Mel Gibson was being hung out to dry by most of the leadership in the Catholic Church, especially in light of the Pope's recent call for the "renewal of that fruitful dialogue beteen that has always existed between the Church and the arts."....

But anyway, in championing an offensive foray (which seems to be the word of the week), I haven't had time to mount the defensive bulwarks against the "it-really-doesn't-deserve-the- monniker-perfidious-because-it's-so-damn-laughable - but-people-aren't-laughing-so-perfidious-it-is" Da Vinci Code which has become the dogmatic lotus fruit of millions of people this past year, including many Catholics. Listening to people talk about this book reminds me of some of the characters at the Alice in Wonderland tea party repeating lies over and over, "The Da Vinci Code is good for you. The Da Vinci Code is good for you."

Fortunately, lay Brigadeer Amy "the Wise and Articulate" Welborn has our flank on this one. She has written a rebuttal book that ought to be piled in stacks in the high traffic areas of every Christian church, highschool and college campus. Order your case here.

Amy has a follow-up article currently in The American Spectator about the automatrons who have been seduced by The Code. Check it out here. And here's a snippet...

Now, in case you're not following this, let me explain. The Da Vinci Code posits an entirely alternative history of the Christian faith: Christ not only chose Mary Magdalene as the first of the apostles, he married her, and sired a child before his crucifixion. Peter was jealous, and sought to elevate his own role by suppressing Mary's story and the true gospel, which was focused on retrieving and celebrating the "Sacred Feminine."

I know, I know. It's all a mish-mash of some hoary esoteric hypothesizing, the kind found in the best-seller Holy Blood, Holy Grail, as well as some of the more recent ideologically-driven theories about Gnostic writings from the first four centuries of Christianity.

SO YOU CAN SEE where these correspondents are coming from: the Truth is out there, and it can't possibly be in orthodox Christianity. The odd assumption behind many of these letters is that pious Christians are working out of blind, unthinking faith -- that we've not worked through our own doubts, that we don't take history seriously, and that we're not really interested in truth.

My own experience talking to people who have accepted this book as an alternate redemption is the same. They start insisting, "It's all backed up by REAL historical research!" I was on an airplane last week, and I happened to be reading a book with the title, "The Founder of Opus Dei." (I'm doing some research for a screenplay.) This fellow reaches over, literally grabs my sleeve and says. "Oh! I know all about THEM." He pulls out a copy of Da Code and waves it at me. "This book tells you the WHOLE story about THEM!"

I told him that he was incorrect. That he had been duped. And that he should follow the warning of Tertullian, that in matters of dogmatic dilemma, "Whatever is oldest is true." He looked at me with blinking frenzied eyes. I shrugged and scribbled the name of Amy's book on a scrap of paper and told him to check it out as an appropriate sequel. I also gave him my contact info...but I wrote my name backwards "in code"...because, you know, that's what people who have true things to say do.

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