A leading US TV news reporter has said her network is taking a risk with a news special which asks whether Jesus Christ had a wife. ABC's Elizabeth Vargas said Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci, to be shown in the US on Monday night, was being made "as respectfully as we can".
But she admitted: "You can't talk about this subject without intriguing people or offending people."
The programme is partly based on the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code.
This is to all of you letter writers who have been scolding me for months, tut-tutting, telling me to relax because "it's only a novel." I tell you, I had an intuition on this one, which is why, in June, I insisted on writing something for OSV on it, a piece while not as deep as those that have followed, was, I think, the first article in the Catholic press to take on this claptrap.
(And, remember: here's Sandra Miesel's Crisis article and here's the meticulous critique by Carl Olson. Really, have both of these handy, send the URL's to your friends and acquaintances who will be watching this.)
I just had this feeling that this one was going to have a life of its own and spill over beyond fiction. I could tell from the way Brown justified his assertions and from the reactions I read on Amazon that people were treating this as serious history, were experiencing an "ah-ha" moment of "Wow, now I see it! No wonder they hid this from us all of these years!"
I can only hope that in the end, this is nothing more than a "Chariots of the Gods" blip, and that in twenty years, people will be amazed at the seriousness which with this is taken.
No, haven't seen the special, so I just really hope that they present the views of scholars who will clearly debunk Brown's claims.
Although I'm also not impressed with what the article says a Catholic League rep says:
It has already drawn criticism from a representative of the Catholic League, Joseph Feo, who said the news special had relied too much on the opinions of Father Richard McBrien of Notre Dame.
Well, that's just dumb. I have no idea what McBrien says, but it's too bad that this report highlighted the League's reps comments in this way. I'm sure they were more substantive, but the report makes it sound as if McBrien's presence is the only reason for concern. I'm sure there was more to it than that. With McBrien, there undoubtedly is.
My fundamental distress with this whole matter is what has happened, when you get down to it, is how this whole phenomenon works to distract the world from the truth of Jesus. Be interested in Jesus as a figure in esoteric hypothesizing. Let yourself be fascinated by conspiracy theories and be taken in by flawed logic and historical fantasizing. But never, for a minute, bother with what's actually there in the Gospels. Busy yourself with reading between the lines, that you ignore the lines themselves: Jesus' words of God's love, forgiveness, Jesus crucified, Jesus risen...all ignored because it's more fun to speculate about his love life.