It will be interesting to see how this evolves. There is one Catholic on the expert list:
Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP, is the founding Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City, CA She has a M.A. in Education in Media Studies from the Institute of Education, University of London, and a Diploma in Catechetics, as well as a Certificate in Pastoral Communications, from the University of Dayton in OH. Pacatte is the film/TV columnist for St. Anthony Messenger and a contributor to The Tidings. She also co-authored the award-winning book series, Lights, Camera...Faith! A Movie Lectionary.
And four Orthodox, including Frederica Mathewes-Green, Patrick Henry Reardon of Touchstone, and Terry Mattingly.
These experts are not paid, but of course, Sony is paying Grace Hill Media for their work. I've not yet seen any figures, and in the name of transparency and honesty, it would be helpful for this Christian organization to be upfront about how much they're being paid by Sony to help sell their movie. Hollywood Jesus, the old (in internet years) website that was really first on the Christian-engaging-culture scene, is also involved.
What is striking is that in all of the "Who's Who" and "What's What" material about people and things in the book, there is no mention of Opus Dei, at least that I can find. A rather interesting omission. And glaring.
Do you know? A website of this nature, with experts (we hope) telling the "truth) about the Da Vinci Code could have been dreamed up and promoted without taking a dime from Sony. Could have. Because frankly, you're now in bed with them. Hope it's good for you.
My other question, aside from money, is whether any of these people, from Grace Hill to Hollywood Jesus to the experts, have a)read the script or b)seen any kind of cut of the film. I'm assuming that Grace Hill has - that they know exactly what they're encouraging people to see. Any information on this question would be welcome, either on the comments board or in an email to me.
Some of Grace Hill Media's past projects - that is, films they have taken on to sell to Christian audiences. Some make sense. But...The Producers??? Elf? Kingdom of Heaven???
And here's the snarkiest, rudest question of all: Could it be possible that this mainly Protestant-driven enterprise is perfectly happy to point people towards The Da Vinci Code because, in fact, it is the "Catholic Church" that is constantly besmirched, by name? In encouraging (or at least not discouraging) people to see the film, they are reinforcing bad vibes around the word "Catholic," then are happy to "correct" the film by directing them to their own resources, produced by their own denominations?
(To make my point clearer, see this Orlando Sentinel piece from a few days ago regarding Campus Crusade for Christ's tremendous efforts in regard to The Da Vinci Code. Josh McDowell has written a book, is quoted as encouraging people to see the film, and his group is publishing a 500,000 print run magazine-version of his book.)
If a biopic were produced that dramatized ill-founded, negative "alternative" histories of Billy Graham, John Wesley or Martin Luther, would Grace Hill agree to push the film to Christian audiences, thereby making more money for the film's producers, all for that "teachable moment?" Would Campus Crusade for Christ and Josh McDowell be producing materials that have the impact of encouraging people to see the film? I 'm not completely sure, but I tend to doubt it.
Oh, and the experts might want to get in touch with the webmasters on at least one point. In two places, the site identifies the "Dead Sea Scrolls" has having been found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt.
Update: Carl Olson has some thoughts that have provoked me a little bit - I would have said "no" if invited to participate, but you have to admit - it's kind of odd that none of the Roman Catholic Da Vinci debunkers were even invited to participate, while a couple of the Protestant debunkers (Bock, WItherington, both fine scholars btw) were. Huh.