Archbishops say Da Vinci boycott not necessary

Catholics were free to watch The Da Vinci Code movie but should remember its central claims are fictional, two Australian Archbishops said ahead of tomorrow's box office release.

The Age reports that Melbourne's Archbishop Denis Hart said he would leave it to people to make a mature judgement about whether or not to watch the movie, but they should be sure of their facts.

Archbishop Hart said the The Da Vinci Code is a story with an intriguing plot, but "it goes to the heart of the Catholic religion because it makes allegations which are not in any way substantiated by fact."

"It will be hurtful to a lot of Christians. The church has not tried to suppress anything, Jesus was not married, he is God. People should read the Gospels to discover the truth about Jesus," he said.

Many church leaders around the world have urged Christians to boycott the film - based on the best-selling but wildly inaccurate novel by Dan Brown.

Archbishop Philip Wilson, the newly elected President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, has rejected the call to boycott the movie, saying people should see the movie but take it as just a fictional story.

AAP reports that Archbishop Wilson said he had not read Dan Brown's best selling book which claims that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, who had their child and that the bloodline survives.

Theologians say there is no evidence in the scriptures to support the marriage theory, although some believe Mary Magdalene was a close follower of Jesus.

But many church leaders see the film as a new opportunity to reach the wider community.

Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey, chairman of the bishops' media committee, said the church welcomed any interest in Jesus Christ generated by The Da Vinci Code, and had compiled resources to help people.

The Australian Catholic Bishops' Committee last month set up a web resource site on the book and movie (www.acbc.catholic.org.au/DaVinciCode.html).

Archbishop Wilson said the church was preparing some material on The Da Vinci Code, which it would make available to Catholic schools and parishioners in South Australia over the next week.

"A kit which just puts the claims of the movie in the right perspective," he said.

Archbishop OKs 'The Da Vinci Code' for Catholics (The Age 17/5/06)
Archbishop rejects Da Vinci ban (Courier-Mail/Australian Associated Press 16/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
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)

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)

Da Vinci Code provokes protests ahead of premiere (Irish Times 16/5/06)
Da Code unveils a treasure (escape.news.com.au 17/5/06)
For adult eyes only: Code censored in Philippines (The Guardian 16/5/06)
Thailand to cut Da Vinci movie after Christian protests (Monsters and Critics/Deutsche Presse-Agentur 16/5/06)

The Da Vinci phobe's guide (BBC 16/5/06)
Muslims join Da Vinci criticism (BBC 16/5/06)
Reading "Da Vinci Code" does alter beliefs - survey (Reuters 16/5/06)
India to show "Da Vinci" to Catholics before release (Reuters 16/5/06)
Cannes to kick off with Da Vinci Code controversy (Reuters 16/5/06)
'Da Vinci Code' set to blitz box-office (ABC TV 7:30 Report 16/5/06)
Card. Rosales: "Da Vinci Code is attack against Christ to make money" (AsiaNews.it 16/5/06)
No 'Christ cover-up': Church fears fiction will be portrayed as fact in movie (The Border Mail 16/5/06)
Code release is challenge for catechesis, Italian cardinal says (Catholic World News 16/5/06)
Da Vinci Code film 'insults Catholic faith' (Daily Mail 16/5/06)
Da Vinci's conspiracy of cryptography (Eureka Street 16/5/06)
20+ Questions on Jesus Christ (Opus Dei 15/5/06)
Opus Dei New York Communications Office: May 15th Press Statement on The Da Vinci Code (Opus Dei 15/5/06)
The Code for success (Reuters/Sydney Morning Herald 16/5/06)
Bid to block 'Da Vinci Code' fails (Sunday TimesReuters 16/5/06)
Bishop has a crack at Code (The Advertiser 17/5/06)
Da Vinci Code publicity train fires up at Waterloo (London Times 16/5/06)
Opus Dei Response to Director Ron Howard (Zenit 15/5/06)

17 May 2006