Catholic Film Office takes on Omen superstition

It is being claimed that some Australian mothers do not want to deliver their babies, especially their sons, today on 6/6/06.

Jesuit priest and director of the Catholic Film Office, Dr Richard Leonard said of the remake of The Omen movie, released today: "Given the superstitions of some birthing parents in Australia, it seems we have to take this film more seriously than it deserves."

Fr Leonard said, "Parents can take heart from the fact that the 6th June is not 6/6/06 at all. Christianity took over the Roman calendar in the 4th Century. In 526, a scholarly monk named Dionysius Exiguus, compiled a list of the dates of Jesus' birth, death and resurrection. He assigned dates in the new Christian calendar for each of these events. Given the tools at his disposal, he did an extraordinary job."

"We know, however, from other historical sources and from the New Testament, where it mentions who the various Jewish and Roman rulers where in Palestine, that Dionysius' dating was out. The church became aware of this mistake in 1582, but to correct it the world would have lost four years. So we have all lived with it ever since."

"The millennium, claimed by some people as the day Christ was going to return, was marked on 1st January 2001. It was actually the 1st January 1997," he said.

"We assume that Satan knows that the sixth day of the sixth month in 06 was in fact the 6th June 2002."

"In any case," Fr Leonard added, "we should pay no heed to the so-called 'devil's number.' The beast is mentioned 40 times in the New Testament, 39 of these are in the Book of Revelation, where in 13:18 we are invited to '... calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred and sixty six.'"

Recent biblical scholarship on the book of Revelations concludes that all references to "the Beast" are not to personified evil in Satan, but to the Roman Empire who was then the brutal occupying force in the Near East.

Fr Leonard says that as the prophet Daniel had done before, the author of Revelations understandably uses a coded language for the repressive political regime of the day.

As time passed with the later Emperors becoming "kinder" to Christianity, then the more "the Beast" was taken to be another, malevolent force in the world, the devil incarnate.

Fr Leonard concluded that, "If I had a wife and we were blessed enough to have a son at 6am on 6/6/06 I would be proud to baptise him Damian after the early 3rd Century Christian martyr, or after St Peter Damian of Ravenna or Blessed Damien of Molokai, and superstition be dammed."

"I take evil far too seriously to think The Omen is telling me anything realistic or important," he said.

"When thinking of evil in the world I prefer to reflect on the 32,000 people who, on average, die every day of starvation. We in the developed world could feed them if we chose to, but we are generally too busy eating ourselves to death. That's personified evil."

Catholic Film Office takes on The Omen superstition (Australian Catholic Film Office 6/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Review: The Omen (Australian Catholic Film Office)
The Omen - Official Website

Movie makers increasingly inspired by Biblical themes (AsiaNews.it 5/6/06)
6/6/06 not such a bad omen: priest (The Courier-Mail/Australian Associated Press 5/6/06)
Church fears return of Omen curse (The Observer 4/6/06)
Lucifer's lucky number or a typical Tuesday? (The Age 6/6/06)

6 Jun 2006