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Jesuit says Da Vinci Code exposes poor religious education


Fr Richard Leonard has said that The Da Vinci Code's main achievement is to expose the level of ignorance among Christians about their own history and how the New Testament was compiled.

Eureka Street reports that delivering the Newman/St Mary's Academic Centre Lecture Series at the University of Melbourne on Monday, Fr Leonard suggests that Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown could have even taught Christians more about the Bible than their own religious education classes.

"It is much to our shame that Mr Brown has been the first person to tell a host of biblically illiterate Catholics, and other Christians besides, that the New Testament was not a first century version of the Book of Mormon, falling from the sky," he said.

"It's not Dan Brown's fault, that the religious education of most of us was so poor that we were never told that the revelation of our scared texts came through a prolonged and passionate stoush about what was in and out."

He said that Hebrews, James, Revelation and I and II Peter, and not the four canonical Gospels, were the highly disputed texts. It was not until, finally, in 633 that the Council of Toledo decreed that the fights were over and that the 27 books we now accept as the New Testament were it.

Fr Leonard, who is the director of the Australian Catholic Film Office, said that it is not the fault of most Catholics that they don't know this, "because we were warned off reading the Bible, and the study of its history or compilation was a Protestant concern at best, or a sin against accepting it as holy writ."

He made his points in the context of a much longer discussion of the film, in which he concludes that the film is poor on most levels, but improves on the book.

"It remains didactic, the dialogue clumsy in parts and the drama in the last act if as elusive as the Holy Grail. Pleasingly, the way the theories are discussed in the film is much more speculative and contested than in the novel. This film is trying to be more conciliatory."


SOURCE
Jesuit critic says Da Vinci Code reveals Christians' ignorance of faith (Eureka Street 22/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
The Truth Decoded
Opus Dei
The Da Vinci Code - an invitation to learn the truth (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)
Deciphering Da Vinci (Catholic Australia)
Jesus Decoded (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

ARCHIVE
Da Vinci Code bores Bishops' film reviewer (CathNews 19/5/06)
Priest-critic says Da Vinci film mild compared to book (CathNews 18/5/06)
The Truth Decoded
Opus Dei
The Da Vinci Code - an invitation to learn the truth (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)
Deciphering Da Vinci (Catholic Australia)
Jesus Decoded (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

ARCHIVE
Archbishops say Da Vinci boycott not necessary (CathNews 17/5/06)
Organisation head says Code exploited Opus Dei (CathNews 16/5/06)
Hickey says don't take Da Vinci film seriously (CathNews 15/5/06)
British team warns against Da Vinci Code "trap" (CathNews 12/5/06)
Scholars setting record straight on Mary Magdalene (CathNews 3/5/06)
Opus Dei priest says it's OK to see The Da Vinci Code (CathNews 28/4/06)

MORE STORIES
Samoa bans The Da Vinci Code (ABC Asia Pacific 22/5/06)
Six30 Quest: Crack the Code (Archdiocese of Melbourne - lecture series fro 23/5/06)
Pakistani Islamists get ready to bash Da Vinci Code (Reuters 22/5/06)
Church offers chance to crack Da Vinci code (Belfast Telegraph 22/5/06)
Manila bans Da Vinci Code, but in adjacent cities, theatres packed (Ecumenical News International 22/5/06)
Da Vinci no show (Border Mail 20/5/06)
'Da Vinci Code' softens book's hard edges, draws press viewing laughs (Catholic News Service/Catholic Online 19/5/06)
Opus Dei members to pass up 'Da Vinci Code' for church projects (Catholic Online/Union of Catholic Asian News/Catholic Online 19/5/06)
Father Daniel Harrington, SJ: With 'Da Vinci Code' claims, what's fact and fiction about real Jesus? (St Anthony Messenger 20/5/06)
It's Not Just a Movie, It's a Revelation (About the Audience) (New York Times 21/5/06)
Silly Code proves Jung right (The Age 22/5/06)
Archbishop Amato Comments on "Da Vinci Code" and "Gospel of Judas" (The Universe 21/5/06)
Vatican Offers Explanation for All the Attacks (Zenit 19/5/06)


23 May 2006