Pope’s preacher attacks Da Vinci Code

The Pope’s own preacher used an Easter service in St Peter’s basilica, Roman Catholicism‘s holiest citadel, to attack the best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code yesterday.

The Da Vinci Code

So error-laden is The Da Vinci Code that the educated reader actually applauds those rare occasions where Brown stumbles (despite himself) into the truth. […] In the end, Dan Brown has penned a poorly written, atrociously researched mess.
Source: Dismantling The Da Vinci Code By Sandra Miesel, Crisis, Sep. 1, 2003

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, who holds the title of Preacher of the Papal Household, made his comments in a sermon during a Passion of the Lord service commemorating Christ’s death. His diatribe was the latest indication of Vatican fury over the success of the book, based on the idea that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children.

Earlier this month, a member of the governing board of the Vatican’s “ministry” for doctrinal orthodoxy called the novel a “sack full of lies”. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone appealed to Catholic bookshops to sweep The Da Vinci Code from their shelves.

The Rome daily La Repubblica yesterday reported that, even though religious bookshops in the capital had followed the advice, sales of the novel in the city had doubled in the past week, and similar increases had been reported from other Italian cities.

This reaction had been feared by some senior figures in the church. Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a leading candidate to succeed Pope John Paul, told an interviewer this week: “The more people talk about the book, the happier the author will be.” He dismissed The Da Vinci Code as “a big farce”.

But in a sermon full of passionate conviction, Father Cantalamessa said some people were ready to believe anything because they no longer believed in God. He did not name The Da Vinci Code or its US author, Dan Brown.

He said, “In a stream of novels, films and plays, writers manipulate the figure of Christ under cover of imaginary new discoveries. This is becoming a fashion, a literary genre”.

The book exemplified “literary and artistic parasitism” in a sex-obsessed society. It had become impossible “to portray Jesus in any other way than as a homosexual, or as one who taught that salvation is to be found in uniting with the feminine principle and gave the example by marrying Mary Magdalene. The passion and the crucifixion of Christ?”, asked Father Cantalamessa. “All later inventions of the Church!”

The novel follows a Harvard professor as he uncovers the “truth” about Christ and the clandestine society that has tried to protect it down the centuries.

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The Guardian, UK
Mar. 26, 2005
John Hooper in Rome

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday March 28, 2005.
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