The Da Vinci affair -- both the book and the movie -- has become a major cultural phenomenon reflecting, on the one hand, the ignorance of millions of people and, on the other, the delight the media take in promoting an entire product line that has nothing to do with the truth.
The whole debate has been coloured by the Muslim riots over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed over the past year.
Dan Brown's story contains the big themes of Gnosticism (the secret way to truth); anti-Catholicism (which seems to appeal to many non-Catholics and far too many Catholics); the new age doctrine of returning to the sacred feminine; sex (the ultimate liberating force); and fiction as history (the growing contemporary theory that truth is less important than perception.)
He has repeatedly said in interviews that part of what he is doing in this book is presenting a heretofore "lost history" to readers, and that he is glad to be doing so. The basis of Brown's book is this: Jesus, a mortal teacher of wisdom, was intent on reintroducing the notion of the "sacred feminine" back into human consciousness and experience. He drew followers, and was married to Mary Magdalene, whom he designated as the leader of his movement.
Brown continues his wild theory stating that Jesus died but never rose from the dead; his resurrection was a fiction later created by the Church to increase its power. According to Brown, Constantine turned Jesus into a resurrected God in order to subjugate pagans by imposing upon them a new religion.
Brown's natural consequence is that the Catholic Church has spent centuries lying, cheating and murdering people to keep these facts secret. Certain illuminati have always been aware of these secrets; among them Leonardo daVinci, who hid a code explaining as much in his paintings.
Brown's attack on the very person and mission of Jesus Christ, must be named for what it is: a form of religious profanity. Why should Christians be expected to sit by while the media hails a movie that insults Christ, our Saviour and Lord?
For many people The Da Vinci Code is not just entertainment. It has become the source for "pseudo-knowledge" or "secret information" about the Christian faith. Many people often receive through fiction what they would be on guard against in reasoned, informed debate.
Shortly before he was elected Pope one year ago, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger preached the homily at the pre-conclave Mass, warning against the rise of "a dictatorship of relativism." That theme has continued throughout the first year of his Pontificate.
Relativism is nothing more or less than the deconstruction of all objectivity in our perceptions of reality. Accordingly, there is no real, objective and historical truth, only those notions which each special proponent offers as his own idea of truth. Isn't this the crux of the whole Da Vinci Code phenomenon?
A dictatorship of relativism recognizes nothing as absolute. Believers who try to uphold the values of their faith are often labeled as fundamentalists. Relativism is powerful in Western life, evidenced in many areas from the decline in the study of history and literature, through to the triumph of subjective values and the downgrading of marriage and family life.
For Christians, Jesus said, "I am the Truth," and for this countless good men and women throughout the ages have lived and died. Nobody lives and dies for relativism and I doubt that anyone will die for Dan Brown.
If you are interested to know who Jesus really was and what he preached about, I encourage you to pick up the New Testament. If you wish to know his consolation in your life, spend some time before one of his countless images. If you wish to encounter him in a deeply personal way, try the Sacramental Life of the Church. You might be surprised at what you find and who you meet.