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February 09, 2006

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I saw this Catholic News Agency story on "The Da Vinci Challenge". Apparently, Sony Pictures, ahead of the May 19 release of "The Da Vinci Code" movie has created a website to host essays from DVC critics/experts. But, noticable was the lack of Catho... [Read More]

Comments

dick

I read the book early on and was disturbed by it. I have read along with all the comments since and will NOT bother to see the film. I can't imagine what any one can say that would ever get me to change my mind.

Adam

The whole thing is an elaborate bore, so far as I can tell. "Evidence" that Jesus was married, extracted from a Da Vinci painting? International conspiracies, with a dose of gnosticism thrown in? Yawn. I can't figure out why this silly book has gotten so much attention, except that there seem to be a lot of people who don't have enough to do.

Jason

This is a win-win for Sony. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Providing as many forums as possible to talk about the film will only stoke greater interest. It sparks more and more conversation, giving even those not disposed to like it or see it something to talk about with those who eat up the story hook, line and sinker. This breeds the "water cooler effect."

Like the omission of Opus Dei representatives in the "experts" section of this new site, I am also suspicious about the lack of Catholics on the panel. This book is a full-frontal assault on Catholicism. Having evangelicals and Orthodox on the panel lets them criticize some of the scriptural and Christological claims of DVC, but still allows them to get in a few hits at the Catholic Church. There is much for evangelicals and Orthodox (of a more polemical stripe) to use to take comfort in and bludgeon the Church. Despite being a good writer, Frederica Matthewes-Green is no friend of Catholicism.

But, as Amy said, one wonders whether it is best to collaborate with this group or not allow Sony to have any credibility.

Tony A

It's more than a bore. The way this is being represented really brings to the fore the latent (and not so latent) anti-Catholicism in our society.

Michiko Kakutani wrote an article in the NT a few weeks ago on the James Frey furure. She writes: "We live in a relativistic culture where television reality shows are staged or stage-managed, where spin sessions and spin doctors are an accepted part of politics, where academics argue that history depends on who is writing the history, and where an aid to President Bush, dismissing reporters who live in the 'reality-based community' can assert that 'we're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality'".

The Da Vinci Code fits neatly into this theory. Instead of being mocked for its ridiculous lies and phony assertions, the thing is being taken seriously. I wish more people could connect all the dots in this culture of relativism... Our society has lost its connection to truth.

QD

I think the last question is a bit of a low-blow. Even if Grace Hill were thinking in "anti-Catholic" terms, supposing that people like Reardon, Mathewes-Green, and Mattingly would cooperate in it is pretty darned unfair. If someone like Bob Jones or Tim LaHaye were a part of it, then you might have a case. You're above that sort of thing, Amy.

JP

Tony,
Amen to that. Sony's PR firm will continue to mine the pockets of evangelicals as long as many of thier leaders are willing to "debate". As someone has previously posted, this has really gotten quite boring- the Catholic basing, international cabals of papists etc...it is soooo 18th century. Yawn

Amy

It's not the experts. Well, not all of them, at least, QD. It's the PR group that I'm questioning. And strongly. When I see that "Kingdom of Heaven" was one of their projects, I'm questioning more than ever.

Greg Popcak

I think this was a very foolish move on Grace Hill's part. They will have to do serious work to maintain their OWN credibility after this. Frankly, as they take on more projects, they are looking more and more mercenary and I am finding myself having to take a very hard look at any project they recommend since it appears to be money and not values that drives their operation.

I think Amy's suggestion that Grace Hill isn't more skittish about Da Vinci because it's just Catholics--as opposed to real Christians--being maligned is valid. I'm sure it isn't the result of a conscious decision against Catholics("Let's git them papists!") but Grace Hill's decision to take this project bespeaks how remarkably out-of-touch they are about Catholic sensibilities.

Since we do make up 25% of the US market,that strikes me as fairly significant blindspot.

Ken

What is striking is ... there is no mention of Opus Dei, at least that I can find. A rather interesting omission. And glaring.

Probably keeping them in the wings as Albino Monk Assassins (TM).

(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...)

Of course a lot of "Bible-believing Christians" will be plugging DVC -- it bashes "Romish Popery". (Hey, Josh @ CCC: The Treaty of Westphalia ended the Reformation Wars in 1648. Where were you?)


Larry

Plenty of conservative evangelicals are upset with DVC. Ain't just a Catholic issue. Here are some strong words from the president of Dallas Theological Seminary:

"The Da Vinci Code phenomenon is merely a symptom. There are underlying reasons why this anti-Christian book was number one on amazon.com, number one in the New York Times, selling at Wal Mart, Barnes & Noble, and seemingly every store in between, and is now headed for Hollywood. First, we need to realize it is a symptom of unbelief on the part of the world.Jesus Himself said, “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). The Jesus of the Bible is not the Jesus people naturally want, because He exposes our sins even as He offers us the cure for them. So Christianity has always been shadowed by heresies seeking to water down the true Jesus and impugn the inspired Scriptures that tell us about Him. And Christians are called to counterthose heresies. Second, we need to confess that it is a symptom of a problem within the church:a shallow understanding of what we believe and why we believe it.Yes, I’m grieved to see the world ingesting such spiritual arsenic. But I’m embarrassed and alarmed to see Christians either not responding or being confused and misled by it. When large masses of Christians are only casually familiar with the doctrinal foundation of their faith and the basis for trusting their Bible, they will be neither salt nor light. In short, The Da Vinci Code is a big deal because it represents a direct, growing, and effective attack on Jesus Christ..."

Amy

Of course! Most of the debunking books have come from that end. But then...you have, on the Sony/Grace Hill website, the prez of Fuller Theological seminary saying, outright, "Read the novel! See the movie!" IF it's so poisonous...shouldn't you avoid it?

Julia

What or who is Grace Hill?

Tope

Amy -

I don't think this is a Protestant/Catholic thing. The bookstore at my parents' evangelical (mega)church is fully stocked with all manner of books debunking the Da Vinci Code. When I first read the book 3 years ago, I was still an evangelical Protestant, and I certainly got the impression that my fellow evangelicals were quite concerned by the book.

I think you could make a case that Protestants and Catholics are concerned by different things in DVC. The Protestant effort is mainly focused on defending the integrity of Scripture. It's not too much of a wrench for them to concede that the Church (esp. the medieval Church) might have done the awful things that Brown alleges. The Catholic effort is necessarily concerned with both Scripture and the authority and integrity of the Church . . . which is as it should be.

Old Zhou

Dear Julia,

See About Us from Grace Hill Media.

....Jonathan Bock conceived of a new strategy to bridge the chasm that existed between Hollywood and the relatively untapped market of Religious America. In 2000, Grace Hill Media was born and quickly established itself as the reigning market leader in reaching People of Faith.

Grace Hill Media is committed to highlighting entertainment for the faith community which shares in their beliefs, that explores their values, and that enhances and elevates their view of the world. The hallmark of Grace Hill Media is integrity. We constantly balance the wants of our clients with the needs of our audience, and always strive to act as counsel and advocate for both. In recognizing the business demands of Hollywood, while remaining sensitive to the values of the faith audience, Grace Hill Media stands alone in the entertainment industry.

Jonathan Bock is the founder and president of Grace Hill Media. Mr. Bock began his career in publicity at Warner Bros. Prior to that, he was a sitcom writer, widely regarded throughout the industry as "not very good." Mr. Bock serves on the board of Reel Spirituality at Fuller Theological Seminary and is a deacon at Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Father of two beautiful daughters, he's married to his first wife, Kelly....


Among their clients are ABC, NBC, Disney, Universal, 20th Century Fox, New Line Cinema, Paramount, Sony units, etc.

They market Hollywood to Christians.

Think of it as "bottom of the barrel" catechesis.

Carl Olson

My initial reaction is that this is all rather surreal. I'm all for using the Coded Craziness for good — when and if possible — but I think Amy is correct in saying "you're now in bed with them." Indeed. And she is definitely correct to ask this question:

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?

Of course not. For some (certainly not all) Evangelicals, this probably appears to be a win/win situation: get a few licks in on the Catholic Church and promote your responses to the Code — responses that will focus almost exclusively on defending Scripture, not on telling the full story of who wrote the Bible (Catholics), who preserved the Bible (Catholics), and who defined the canon of the NT, aided by the Holy Spirit (Catholics).

One of the dangers of apologetics is taking a utilitarian, pragmatic approach that can distort the Big Picture even while getting many of the details right. My experience as an Evangelical (I entered the Catholic Church in 1997) was that such an approach often took place when dealing with matters of history. Yes, Catholic apologists do the same thing and there is plenty of mediocre apologetics and dubious historical "research" in the Catholic world (I'm thinking here of popular level works, not academic works). But, when it comes to Church history, many Evangelical apologists will (understandably) focus on defending the Bible while providing only what is absolutely necessary about the larger context, which is thoroughly Catholic.

I applaud and respect the efforts of Evangelicals such as Dr. Bock in responding to the Coded Craziness. But I don't think I would want to be involved in The Da Vinci Challenge site because I don't want to be part of the Sony Publicity Machine; this is a project (publicity stunt?) that has a certain smell of condescension to it. I have no interest in exhorting people not to see the movie (after all, I will see it), but I'm certainly not going to tell people they should it, as though they need to view it in order for them to be told the truth about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the Bible, Emperor Constantine, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Larry

Some real big names on the panel of experts. In addition to the ones Amy mentioned, there are the following:

1. George Barna
2. Darrell L. Bock (of Dallas Theological Seminary; a prominent Da Vinci critic)
3. Tony Campolo
4. Chuck Colson
5. Gloria Gaither
6. Hugh Hewitt
7. Josh McDowell
8. Charles C. Ryrie
9. Lee Strobel ("The Case for Christ")
10. Ben Witherington III (Asbury Theological Seminary)

Hard for me to believe these people are selling out somehow. These are highly respected people in evangelical (and, to a certain extent, mainline) Protestant circles. Ryrie for example won't be too well known by Catholics, but trust me, he is HUGE. I don't think their integrity is for sale. They probably just felt that they could most effectively counter the errors of DVC "from the inside".

Carl Olson

I am very, very familiar with Dr. Ryrie's work, having read far too many of his books (I own nearly all of his works). I don't know much about him personally, but he is, I think, a very overrated theologian and author. He also has a strong bias against Catholicism. That's not to say he isn't well-intentioned in his involvement in this site. Said involvement is certainly a matter of prudential judgment. But, to pick up on one of Amy's point, what does it say about Christians when they end up relying on the one attacking their beliefs to provide a forum for them to respond to those attacks? I hope their efforts result in much good, but at the moment I am quite dubious about the entire thing.

Old Zhou

Actually, Carl, the list Larry mentions is almost a "Who's Who of the late 20th century American Scene," and most have anti-Catholic biases of some degree.

By and large, these "experts" don't have any interest in defending the Catholic Church from misrepresentations in DVC.

They are there to explain Scripture (i.e., evangelize) and make a few historical points (i.e., evangelize) and say a few things about Jesus Christ (i.e., evangelize). They are happy to do it. "Come worship with us; we'll show you the real Jesus after you enjoy the film!"

Brigid

A few rambling thoughts...

1) True that a number of evangelicals out there who would love to "get a few licks in on the Catholic Church." But this is not the group. Not by a long shot. They'll be starting another web site for that. Think MacArthur, Sproul, Ankerberg, Horton, and Kennedy.

2) We seem to be forgetting in the discussion here that there are Orthodox and a Catholic on the "expert" list? Perhaps someone should contact John Allen (he seems to be popular in St. Blog's as of late esp. in regards to Opus Dei) and volunteer him to the party?

3) Why can't one could look at the issue of the Sony and Grace Hill collaberation as a concerted effort on Sony's part to respond to the criticisms by marketing to us and, to a certain extent, doing it respectfully?

I guess I see this as "Hollywood Trying."

But, it is Hollywood. And they LIVE for controversey like this. Sells more movie tickets.

[Old Zhou, didn't Jesus offer "bottom of the barrel" catechesis? Those gospel stories he tells are just, well, so simple!]

Julia

Thanks, Old Zhou.

I wonder if Grace Hill has ever turned down any offers to promote films?

On an earlier thread, I think Amy reported that Chuck Colson would be doing something about Catholicism? I believe his wife is Catholic but he surely isn't.

Amy's right. How hard would it have been to put together an on-line forum not hosted by Sony? Maybe somebody should do that and solicit essays from the Catholic perspective.

Carl Olson

3) Why can't one could look at the issue of the Sony and Grace Hill collaberation as a concerted effort on Sony's part to respond to the criticisms by marketing to us and, to a certain extent, doing it respectfully?

That's certainly one way to look at it and I think it bears consideration. But I think this is also a clever way for Sony to be able to say, "Hey, we want to help the discussion and we did our part to let everyone have their say." So, the whacky, anti-Catholic conspiracy theory gets a full-blown movie with top flight actors, director, etc. — and Christians (the vast majority of them not Catholic!) get a website. Hmmm....

I think that all Christians would do well to remember how Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" was repeatedly denounced by Hollywood and the MSM as 1) anti-Semitic, 2) historically inaccurate, and 3) bizarrely violent/bloody. Now we have a movie that, if it adheres to the novel (which it apparently does), is clearly anti-Catholic, historically inaccurate to a degree that is stupifying, and quite bizarre in its crazy brew of New Age-isms, radical feminist blarney, and neo-gnostic pseudo-scholarship. And Christians are going to be involved in a website sponsored by the studio that is producing it? Again, it just doesn't add up to me...

Julia

The following is from the linked article in the Orlando paper:

Johnston [of Fuller Theological Seminary]says that, as a result of conversations with Bock, he and another faculty member, Richard Mouw, have agreed to be part of a group of evangelicals and mainline Christians that will be writing articles related to the movie. They also will serve on an advisory panel that the media can contact when the film opens.

The marriage of convenience -- if that is what it is -- between evangelicals and the film's producers "doesn't seem so startling to me," says Teresa Berger, professor of ecumenical theology at Duke University Divinity School. "That's how consumer capitalism functions in relationship to religious traditions."

- - - - - -
My questions: They are going to be self-appointed experts for the press to consult?

I don't think the book and movie even mention Protestants, much less Evangelicals.

- - - -

As for Scripture's Catholic connection: The Book of Mormon was engraved on plates; Mohammed was supposedly God's stenographer.
The Old and New Testaments were written by identifiable people. The Bible did not drop from Heaven - it was written by Jews and Catholics; and Jews and Catholics decided which peieces were going to be included. Why is it that Evangelicals are the appointed apologists for the New Testament when none of them were around for another 1,000 + years.

It's almost funny.

Brigid

Look at USA Today article, "Evangelicals Miss the Big Picture," By William Romanowski (a Calvin College professor):

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20060206/cm_usatoday/evangelicalsmissthebigpicture

Interesting quote found there:

"Evangelicals can influence Hollywood when they think of the cinema as an arena for cultural discourse but not a place for converting members of that culture to a specific Christian orientation. In other words, evangelicals' goal for the movie industry should be to encourage discourse, not merely evangelizing."

This is in response to movies like Crash, Million Dollar Baby and Brokeback Mountain but I think it addresses WHY a certain segment of evangelicalism wants to engage with Hollywood and move beyond bans and boycotts....

[Carl, it does "add up" -- and the adding is $$$'s!]

jay

Perhaps the following is worth noting. The only Catholic listed is from the Pauline center, which is about a mile away from Sony Picture Studios. (I doubt it's worth noting that the bookstore is just a couple of doors down from a Carl's Jr.)

Old Zhou

Hey Jay, is it worth noting that I worked at a Carl's Jr. in 1974? One night while closing up the store, I was reaching up above the grill machine (through which the beef patties passed on a chain belt) in order to clean the grease traps in the ventilation system, and I leaned on the top of the grill machine. It was just like Kwai Chang Cain in "Kung Fu"...instant scar branded into my right forearm. Ouchie.

jay

Sorry, OZ, this is a Catholic blog, so your unofficial initiation as a Shaoling priest is of no interest here.

c matt

Ya know, Jesus was also considered a prophet by Muslims, and supposedly held in the highest esteem after Mohammed. Yet, I hear no peep from them about TDC.

austin

Charles Colson is not anti-Catholic and has taken a lot of heat for it from other evangelicals. He'd be interested in correcting the DVC's lies about Catholic Church history that the other evangelical celebrities are silent about--if someone tells him. Also, 'the truth doesn't always out' as Josh McDowell claims. If you've read Claire Asquith's Shadowplay, about Shakespeare and the persecution of Catholics,(and other recent books); it has taken hundreds of years to finally realize that England surrendered its Catholic faith reluctantly, imposed from above by royalty. Catholics had no access to printing presses in England until the penal laws were lifted, way after Queen Elizabeth and James 1 had died.

Amy

I'll repeat that one of the things I'm most interested in is whether Jonathon Bock or any of the experts have seen a cut of the film or read the script. I would assume Bock has, and I would hope so. I doubt the experts have, and it strikes me as a shaky and risky proposition to deal with this issue when you don't even know how the film deals with it or what has made it from the novel to the screen.

c matt

See, the truth does out. Just that it may take 100 or 1000 or 10000 years to out. But it will out.

c matt

I hope the movie follows the book closely. I certainly wouldn't want the movie to improve on the book.

It would seem that most of the objectionable stuff would have to be in the movie in order for it to be even recognizably based upon the book, seeing as how the book is mostly based on objectionable trope itself.

Caroline

C. Matt, Why should Moslems have a problem with the DaVinci Code? They don't believe that Jesus was God nor would they have any reason to hold being married against Him as a mere human.

Old Zhou

A bit further out on the horizon....

New Line (another of Grace Hill's clients) is working on a film (so far a script) called "Nativity" about the early life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. [Another one of those "fill in the blanks" in Scripture exercises?]

Today they announced talks with a potential director, Catherine Hardwicke, who cut her directorial teeth with thirteen.

For some reason I shudder at the thought of a Hollywood film protraying the Blessed Virgin Mary as a pregnant, confused thirteen year old, manipulated by the old man to whom she is in an arranged marriage (Joseph), with a religous fanatic cousin (Elizabeth), forced to be an illegal immigrant in Egypt. She overcomes all this to be the Queen of Heaven, and first among the disciples of her son. Roll credits.

Tony A

With all this talk of evangelicals:

I would contend that their precious Left Behind series is pretty much in the same league as the DVC in code of distorting historic Christianity.

Cheryl

Carl is right, this website gives Sony the cover they need to seem “open-minded” about the whole truth vs. fiction controversy, just as having Richard McBrien as a consultant enables them to say, "hey, we checked with the Church while making this film." When all they really care about is McBrien's Catholic rubber stamp approval, and of course the ongoing publicity that the “open debate" brings the film.

Even if Opus Dei were inclined to appear on a filmmaker-sponsored website (and why would/should they help promote the film), of course Sony doesn’t want an official OD presence there. Whenever real live OD people present themselves, they come across as relentlessly reasonable and thoughtful people. That kind of thing tends to deflate any suggestion of a possible sinister conspiracy. And when your whole plot depends on that suggestion, well…!

I think it’s possible (not likely, but possible!) that Howard and co. might still leave any specific reference to OD out of the film. Just because they said in interviews that they didn’t “shy away” from anything in the book, they could still include the murderous monk character without affiliation. By playing coy, however, they continue to fan the flames (see above).

In the end, it’s all about the $$$.

Joel

If anyobdy at Sony is expecting Frederica Mathewes-Green to validate negative attitudes about the Catholic Church or support heresy, they're in for a surprise. Same with Fr. Reardon. They're Orthodox, but they're ORTHODOX as well, and neither is hostile to Rome.

Cheryl

And another thing...

If, in fact, any of you Catholic debunkers (Amy, Carl, Sandra, et al) were invited to participate in the website, you just might be inclined to suggest something unacceptable, such as the fact that one doesn't really HAVE to read the book or see the movie to debate the issues involved.

Now Sony can't have that, can they ;-)

Ken

I would contend that their precious Left Behind series is pretty much in the same league as the DVC in code of distorting historic Christianity. -- Tony

Problem is, Left Behind has joined Young Earth Creation Science as a lot of Evangelicals' litmus test of whether you're Really a Christian or Not.

Carl Olson

I would contend that their precious Left Behind series is pretty much in the same league as the DVC in code of distorting historic Christianity.

The harshest critics of the LB series are certain Evangelicals. Heck, they make my criticisms seem mild. It is unfair to present the LB books as popular among all or even most Evangelicals. However, it's hard to ignore 60 million copies sold. BTW, I once wrote a caustic NRO piece that compared the LB books and TDVC.

Amy

You're right, of course Carl. In discussions like these, it's always tricky to not lump all "evangelicals" in together - They are an incredibly diverse lot and people are always struggling to define them. There's no agreement within, either, as evidenced by, to just take two examples, the hostility to Joel Osteen and other Name it n'Claim it/Prosperity Gospel types, and then the argument within the SBC right this minute about speaking in tongues and baptism - See Internet Monk for an intro to the latter.

Many evangelicals are a)embarrassed or b)theologically scandalized by Left Behind and LaHaye.

Carl Olson

A few years ago a professor at Multnomah Bible College, one of the leading Evangelical colleges in the NW, told me that neither he or any of his colleagues pay any attention to Tim LaHaye's books, fiction or non-fiction. I believe him. The readership is almost all grassroots level — and is more accurately described as fundamentalist (using that term in its historically correct sense). BTW, that professor taught (drum roll) patristics at Multnomah, and received his PhD from (drum roll) Saint Louis University, where his favorite professor was (drum roll) Dr. James Hitchcock, the very fine Catholic historian. Oh, and he had read the Catechism of the Catholic Church several times.

inhocsig

Amy,

Why no mention of Hugh Hewitt being on the panel since your associated with him?

Your listed as a contibutor on his blog - onetruegodblog.com

Old Zhou

The Challenge Website seems to be gone.

Old Zhou

Amy...the link in your post to some of Grace Hill's past projects is actually to the CNS vs. CNS news story at CNS.

Amy

inhocsig:

1)I tried the OneTrueGod blog for a very short bit, then asked to be removed. Many weeks ago.

2)THere are a couple dozen names. I pulled the Orthodox names to cite.

Jonathan

[Protestant] responses [...] will focus almost exclusively on defending Scripture, not on telling the full story of who wrote the Bible (Catholics), who preserved the Bible (Catholics), and who defined the canon of the NT, aided by the Holy Spirit (Catholics).

Are you sure it wasn't the Orthodox who did those things? :)

Old Zhou

Dear Jonathan,

I don't think there were any distinct "Orthodox" churches from the "catholic" Church (from one, holy, catholic, apostolic) until the split over the Council of Chalcedon (approx. AD 450). By that time the Canon of Scripture had been pretty much settled, and the Bible was in several languages. Jerome produced the Vulgate about AD 400.

I'm not sure it would be fair to try to tease apart "(Roman) Catholic" from "(Oriental or Eastern) Orthodox" in AD 400, as such divisions did not exist. But clearly, there were no Protestants involved!

William

Julia, Colson's wife is a Catholic.

inhocsig

Amy,

Thank you for the answer.

I note that on the onetruegod,com blog David Alan White is listed as "a converted Catholic".

Interesting way to put it as he is SSPX.

Peter T Chattaway

Julia wrote:

I wonder if Grace Hill has ever turned down any offers to promote films?

In fact, they have.

In November, Grace Hill invited me and a bunch of other reporters down to Los Angeles for a three-movie press junket.

Two of the movies were Walk the Line (the Johnny Cash movie) and Yours, Mine & Ours (a, um, family film of no particular religious inclination, but "family films" are automatically appealing to religious audiences, right?).

However, by the time I got to L.A., the Grace Hill folks had seen the third film, Just Friends, and decided it did not fit their mandate, so they actually told us religious-media reporters not to bother with that film unless we absolutely had to.

For those of us who did not attend the screening of that film, Grace Hill provided a special dinner, and at that dinner, Bock remarked that Grace Hill had come a long way in five years, from barely being able to get Hollywood to pay attention to the religious market, to being in a position where they were turning down potential jobs.

So, they do exercise their discretion, as best as they can.

Jonathan

I'm not sure it would be fair to try to tease apart "(Roman) Catholic" from "(Oriental or Eastern) Orthodox" in AD 400, as such divisions did not exist.

Hi Old Zhou,

I agree completely. I was just lightly tweaking Carl over the use of the term "Catholic" in this context. I have often found that contemporary Roman Catholics call the Church before the Schism "Catholic", which seemingly implies that the Eastern Orthodox are schismatics, and Roman Catholics are the true Church of Christ.

But clearly, there were no Protestants involved!
Well, many Protestants are perfectly willing to see themselves as in the line of what is sometimes called the "Great Tradition". (For example, Robert Webber, in his book Ancient/Future Faith.) They probably wouldn't call it "Catholic" or "Orthodox" though, and it seems to me polemical to insist on calling the Church before, say, the 7th century, either "Catholic" or "Orthodox". It's both, and Protestants would say, we belong to that tradition too.

(Aside) For a time, I received the magazine Touchstone, which is billed as a "journal of mere Christianity", and has Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant contributors. I let the subscription lapse because a (pardon my French) pissing contest seemed to be developing between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox contributors. As a Protestant who has great respect for both of the great ancient churches, it was disconcerting.

Clayton

Blessed are the attention-seekers.

Carl Olson

I have often found that contemporary Roman Catholics call the Church before the Schism "Catholic", which seemingly implies that the Eastern Orthodox are schismatics, and Roman Catholics are the true Church of Christ.

That was certainly not my intention, especially since I'm not a "contemporary Roman Catholic." I'm a Catholic who attends a Byzantine Catholic parish, so I probably have a bit more sensitivity to the Eastern perspective than do some Catholics. That said, I have no problem with the tweaking. ;-)

Ronny

I have often found that contemporary Roman Catholics call the Church before the Schism "Catholic", which seemingly implies that the Eastern Orthodox are schismatics, and Roman Catholics are the true Church of Christ.

Um, that's because... well, they are schismatics -- it is not just contemporary Roman Catholics who would say this, and the Orthodox happen to say the same thing with respect to Roman Catholicism and claim that it is they who are the true Church of Christ, to boot. It wasn't called "The Great Schism" just because historians needed a snazzy name for it, you know.

Thom

So...the Historians just got lucky that a snazzy name was attached? :)

Therese

The Protestant debunkers are only interested in debunking what is not true about Jesus. They ignore what is not true about the Church or Opus Dei. Still, I think rather than being divisive, why not use the present "sensitivity to other religions" to put Catholic debunkers at the forefront? Work to put Catholic websites, blogs at the top of the google hit list? Encourage Protestants of good faith to start debunking the obvious lies about the Catholic Church.

tmatt

If anyone is interested, I consider the book a fierce and dishonest attack on the Catholic faith and will say so. I also have no plans to see the film, and will say so. I have been asked to write on the topic: Who is Dan Brown. I will conclude, since he refuses to answer meaningful questions, that the best evidence is that he is a bitter liberal Catholic.

I also gave Grace Hill the names of a number of Catholic writers they should feature, including Amy.

Russ

Are we really this nieve to believe Sony is interested in "dialogue"? Our organization has reports Grace Hill is getting 2million for its services. This really is a sad day for the evangelical community.

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