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October 31, 2003


Mr. Bingley

exactly right, much in the same way as people love to have tv shows about 'angels' without any understanding or acceptance of god's love.


Very true. You've been ahead of the curve on this one. I know young people who are fascinated by the Gospel of Thomas but have never read or shown interest in the canonical gospels.

Sandra Miesel

The sales of the esoteric books and the books behind those books has doubled since TDVC came out. Margaret Starbird who wrote one of Brown's sources (utterly silly stuff) tells readers that her own Catholic faith was destroyed by Brown's major source HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL. This whole area of thought is horribly corrosive to Christian belief and needs to be emphatically debunked.
Today's WALL STREET JOURNAL mentions this show. The experts conclude that there was no reason why Jesus couldn't have been married and they interview a supposed descendant. No debunking of the ludicrous history in the show.
By the way, Brown's sources do give the fate of the Knights Templar correctly. He deliberately falsifies that to make the Pope their chief enemy so as to attack the Church. There is one brief (nasty) reference to another Christian body in the whole book. His antagonism is relentlessly focussed on Catholics.


You know, his discussion of "new age" or old practices is just as bad, he has Taoism functioning in Rome, for example. Not only is his book horrible on the Catholic side, it is also bad on the "new age" side.

People want to hear the message of Christ, even if it is in things like the gospel of Thomas. Most of these messages fit their kinda fuzzy gnostic/seeker paths. How do we get them thinking about/like Catholics (again)?

Revert who spent many years on the pillow.


This is not an age that relates well to the notion of celibacy, chastity, or virginity. There was a really dumb show on the discovery channel the other night about Mary that kept stressing her other children besides Jesus as being part of the new testament. This Jesus show will be more of the same: a shallow effort to debunk the virginity of Mary and the celibacy of Jesus to affirm current notions of sexual morality.

I predict that next season, they will air a docudrama on Jesus and the disciple whom he loved, John, as an effort to imply that Jesus was not just married to Magdalene, he was actually bisexual.


I was going to say something similar to Jo above--that it is odd how some want to have Jesus married to a woman while others want him to be a homosexual. My only addition to Jo's post is that being just bisexual wouldn't do it for the gay crowd.

John Gibson


You quoted:

>Well, that's just dumb. I have no idea what McBrien says, but
>it's silly to make your first line of criticism the presence of a
>priest you don't like rather than the claims of the special. It's
>silly and counterproductive

My guess is the Catholic League is zeroing in on the fact that McBrien is seen, by the US media to be an authority on Catholic Teaching. McBrien's book Catholicism was rebuked by the US conference of Bishops committee on doctrine. So, there is a red flag there.

As for the ABC, we need to do exactly what happened on the Reagan Mini-series, and that is tell the network that we aren't going to take it. That you will contact the sponsors of the show. This will put real pressure on them. Notice that this special is happening during the November Sweeps. This is an important time for a network, this is where it will determine how much it can charge for advertising.

Now here is the catch. Write a real letter or take the time to actually phone. Don't rely on email. Email can be easily dismissed due to the fact that it can be spoofed i.e. making it look like it came from someone else. A real letter means that you took the time to actually put your views on paper. Networks and Sponsors take notice.

Here is an example: In the state of Illinois I was told, by my Representative that if they get 7 letters or about 14 phone calls about an issue, this translates into massive leverage. He told me that they almost never hear about any law that they are passing, so if the numbers jump they start looking deeper into it.

So. There is something you can do about this. However it takes work on our part.

John Gibson


Why focus on McBrien - maybe it has to do with him appearing on the commercial for the "event" which I saw last night. On the commercial, he said something like -'Is it possible that Jesus was married? Of course!' The explanation point was his, not mine. The words may not be verbatim.

ita o'byrne

I think John Gibson has it right - ABC will probably present McBrien has someone of "moderate" views to counter any more orthodox RC priest or evangelical scholar they present therefore discrediting them as "out of the mainstream". Condsidering McBrien's apathy for the Vatican (which is Brown's favorite target - he seems not to know Orthodox Christians or Protestants exist) he will probably support some of Brown's claims (the ones he won't support will not be shown IMHO).

I could have predicted this would happend. I read the book just to see if it was as bad as I thought (it was) but there are literally thousands of people who have read thinking they are discovering new about the evil "Catholic Church". A middle aged Jewish woman in one of my Lit classes who hadn't given much tohought to Christianity started a conversation about the Da Vinci Code before class. She talked about the cover-ups, how the Vatican had kept secrets about Mary Magdalene and Jesus, about evil Opus Dei, about how Da Vinci put secrets into his painting (including the Last Supper) about the conspiracy and let me tell you half the class was eating it up and willing to believe it...and many of these people are adult graduate and post-graduate professionals.

Outside the Catholic media I haven't seen anyone confront Brown and his "facts" (aside from the NY Times article exposing Brown on his Leonardo Da Vinci fabrications) . And nobody in the elite media really cares what Catholics think. Columbia optioned the book, Ron Howard will direct the movie, now a major TV network will devote an hour to Brown's anti-catholicism. Scott Appleby of Notre Dame (hardly a right winger) said ABC edited and took out of his context his interviews at the height of the Scandal for their one hour special "The Sins of the Fathers" or some such cheesy title just to fit ABC's already planned outline/thesis of the show (aka Church Bad). I have no hope they will present a balanced view on Brown's tripe.

*rant over* Sorry.


"For me, it's made religion more real and, ironically, much more interesting - which is what we're hoping to do for our viewers," she said." Elizabeth Vargus

She failed to use the appropriate adjective before "interesting"...and that would be "pruriently".

I'm sure they'll use McBrien. e-mail him and tell him that the collar should be worn for the usual duties representing the Church, not the other way round.

I'd say also to e-mail the critiques as well to ABC and let them know that their intellectual curiosity these days is quite adolescent.


does anyone have an effective email addresses for Vargus/ABC/disney/ron howard (i think he's Imagine studios but i'm not sure)? I'd like to complain.


Well, here's a start:

For ABC's Primetime and Daytime shows, as well as our Movies and Specials: Audience Relations Department at netaudr@abc.com

People might mention the boycott going on of CBS' Reagan bashing and request the sponsors for this Magdalen fiasco.

Jane Wangersky

What ever happened to that old story that Mary Magdalene and John the Evangelist were married to each other (possibly at Cana)?


Chris-I emailed the address you posted in your comment and have received a reply:

The ABC News special "Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci" is a thoughtful and objective exploration of some controversial questions about the life of the historical Jesus that have been debated for centuries. This debate has widened and intensified since the release of the best-selling novel "The DaVinci Code." The special reflects an exhaustive search for any evidence that could either prove or disprove various claims about the living Jesus, and features interviews with respected theologians, art historians and others who express a range of opinions on these matters. While these are certainly controversial topics, there is no doubt that it is valuable to explore them in this responsible manner.

I've replied to the reply which will probably earn me a repeat of the above response.

Daniel Lanterman

A couple of my coworkers have bought into the Da Vinci Code conspiracy theory. People are definitely reading these as history and not as “only a novel.” One lady in particular is quite convinced and has even been raving about it to the rest of us. She’s a Ph.D. candidate in physics at one of the best universities in her subfield (ranked 1st my US New & World Report, not to brag though). I don’t understand why people buy into these theories so easily. Maybe I’m missing something, but I really don’t.


I too overheard a conversation of educated men who swallowed the whole da Vinci thesis. The notion that this book would just be written off as silliness is wrong.

Fr. Rob Johansen

As a priest, I have already had to deal with people caught up in the "Da Vinci Code" la-la land. And trying to reason with these people is almost an exercise in futility, as they look at me with knowing glances and simply dismiss anything I say, because, after all, as a priest that's what they'd expect me to say.

We Americans are woefully ignorant of history, so we are especially susceptible to this claptrap. It seems to be especially attractive to lapsed Catholics who fancy themselves "intellectuals". I think the reason for this is that the book gives them new reason to justify their falling away from the faith.

Oengus Moonbones

Ho, hum. It all once again confirms the following two propostions:

(1) Television is a vast wasteland.
(2) Once they have reject the Truth, people will believe anything.


E-mailed the two addresses at bottom of article on Mark Shea's and the response by both was that they are out of the office until Monday and to contact:

Alison Bridgman at (212) 456-3742.

(no e-mail address given)

Not much time (Monday) to make much of an impression as more people were able to do in the Reagan hatchet job by CBS.


I just led a discussion about the da Vinci Code & did exhaustive research over every single historical fact lied about in this book. Everyone was shocked and relieved to discover their faith could survive this book, except one woman who gave me a book 'I should read.' It claimed, among other things, that Jesus founded the bloodlines of the Stewarts of Scotland! And this college educated woman believed it. Also that St. Patrick was not a Catholic. C. S. Lewis' essay "Myth became Fact" in God on the Dock is helpful in explaining why it is OK that their are dying gods.


I just led a discussion about the da Vinci Code & did exhaustive research over every single historical fact lied about in this book. Everyone was shocked and relieved to discover their faith could survive this book, except one woman who gave me a book 'I should read.' It claimed, among other things, that Jesus founded the bloodlines of the Stewarts of Scotland! And this college educated woman believed it. Also this book asserted that St. Patrick was not a Catholic. C. S. Lewis' essay "Myth became Fact" in God on the Dock is helpful in explaining why it is OK that there are dying gods in pre-Christian mythologies.


on the mark..thanks for the heads up

Donald R. McClarey

This is on a par, with its lack of respect for facts, with the Reagan-bashing Reagan TV movie coming on CBS. One important front in the culture war is TV. I predict this tactic of the cultural left will ultimately be beaten by poor ratings.

Mike Petrik

One of my law partners just plugged the book to me. He is a former Rhodes Scholar. (Sigh)

Jimmy Mac

Hey ... here's a novel idea. Let's WATCH the program first before we lambaste it.

Captain Ed

I haven't read the book, so I can't speak to the accuracy of the data there. I can say that I don't care to watch an ABC news special based on the assumption that Jesus may have been married to Mary Magdalene. It appears to me to have all the evidentiary weight of the Fox news special on how the government "may" have staged the Moon landings, which was thoroughly debunked by the scientific community within hours of its broadcast.

To those who say you can't prove that Jesus WASN'T married, maybe they can check these pressing issues out as well:

* Did Jesus have an Easy-Saver card?
* Did Jesus have a black-velvet painting of Elphaes ben-Presley?
* Did Jesus have the heartbreak of psoriasis?
* Did Jesus have a good singing voice?
* Did Jesus have a wristband that said WWMD? (What Would Moses Do?)

I posted on this a couple of days ago, making this point, but Amy tackled it much better than I did.


A couple thoughts--

If the Pope had disciplined priests like McBrien, this might have been avoided.

Also, I was looking at Paul A. Fisher's book Their God is the Devil: Papal Encyclicals and Freemasonry recently. On p. 27 he discusses Pope Leo XIII's comments about the Craft. This quote seems to be pertinent to the discussion at hand:

"Again, he [Leo] singled out the media, together with the fine arts, as militant agents working ceaselessly to undermine Christian morality."

On the following page Fisher quotes:

"The media, he remarked, including the theater and fine arts, as well as schools and universities, conspire "to pervert minds and corrupt hearts."

He needed to add novelists to the list.

Lastly, I would personally like to see that Carl Olsen and Sandra Miesel's review of the book be placed in the hands of every parochial school principal and every pastor in America. I've started a trend by printing part I and giving a copy to my pastor and principal. How about the rest of you following up on that idea?

Adam Clayton

I'm just wondering why we seem so 'afraid' of these types of investigations, as if faith and the true message couldn't/wouldn't stand up to scrutiny. As if the future of Christianity depended on some intense belief in this 'written' truth and not the possibility of alternate interpretations. I mean who cares if Jesus was married or not as long as the message of love, forgiveness and mercy (which is central to the teachings) are at the fore. We only serve to alienate less dogmatic Catholics and non-Christians with this refusal to accept any form of debate.

What that we should punish, censure priests, nuns, teachers that ask questions?

Also, I agree with the above post. Shouldn't we WATCH the program before blasting it? It is the worst form of close-mindedness not to.

Mark Aldridge

Adam Clayton noticed something that others are missing for now - what difference does it matter what historic events occurred so long as we find out the truth. Are you afraid of losing an insurance policy, even if it doesn't really say what you assumed? This facade is over now. Its all over the web - the truth remains, but the Roman Fairy Tale is done. All of it fashioned by wealthly intellectual sophisticates who treat the masses as immature fools. If they really are that immature, and it works, then more power to you. But if they challenge, you had better not cling - rather, update your own concepts and grow together.

Jim Day

If Adam's position is taken seriously regarding the lack of importance in knowing wether or not Christ was married, then one should seriously question Adam's assessment in what is "central to Jesus'teachings." His isea is more symptomatic of the ever increasing relativism that threatens our society's moral and ethical, and thus our ultimate, future.

What is central to His teachings is not simply love, forgiveness and mercy, but rather the achievement of these "great things" at the cost of true personal sacrifice. THIS is what we are all missing.

It is indeed easy to miss the "truth" if your perspective is that "certain" falsifications of the truth are unimportant - in this case, the hypothesis that Jesus was married and without personal sacrifice regarding his celibacy. Jesus asked His followers to leave their families and spread the "truth" - the Word of God. The "truth" is evident in the sacrifice of the undisciplined "self." The desciples were asked to be just that - disciplened "self-sacrificial" beings.

The truth is what is at the core of the debate surrounding The Da Vinci Code and any related article, documentary, etc.. What harm is in a fabrication of this magnitude? If only one individual abandons their faith and is driven from a church or Christ-centered belief system due to the false representations of the truth, is that not enough to cause alarm? People are leaveing their faith in a bucket over this kind of entertainment and yet some say to that, "the truth will prevail in the end." I say, "don't wait for others to define the truth (Adolph Hitler) before the "reclaimation of truth" comes at much more than small incremental steps of self sacrifice." I agree, watch the ABC program and then ask yourself if you heard the "truth."

The question isn't what should be done now. It is too late for that. The question is what should be done to correct the numerous slants against the Catholic Church and history itself. It is quarenteed that ABC's editorial elites are aware of what Catholic contoversy can do for ratings.

Email FOX, ask them to run a "The Code Is Broken" program that sets the record straight. Let's not let relativism claim, if even for a moment, another person's faith. Let's help the "truth" remain that way.



Read about it in the New Testament!



Read about it in the New Testament!



Read about it in the New Testament!


Americans, all of you????


Americans, all of you above???? No Wonder.....

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