The Vatican Cover-Up
Cardinal Bertones words have gotten a lot of attention because, for one thing, he is regarded as a likely candidate to be the next Pope. He is being accused of trying to censor the book. Apparently arguing with Dan Browns whoppers including slanders of the Catholic Church is a form of medieval persecution, proving Browns point.
Which is? That the Catholic Church is evil. Its based on lies and superstitions, and it has known and covered up the truth for centuries, to this very day, using the most unscrupulous means. Browns novel begins with a murder in the Louvre (yes, the one in Paris) instigated, the reader soon learns, by a priest of Opus Dei.
The plot is terrific. I spent a weekend unable to put the book down. The hero, an American Harvard professor, is suspected of the murder, so he must solve it while eluding the police. He is aided by a young Frenchwoman (a cryptologist) and a scholarly Englishman, Sir Leigh Teabing. (The real-life model for Teabing is suing Brown for plagiarism, but never mind.)
Brown is nothing if not audacious. Through these scholarly characters, he creates, in addition to a great suspense story, an elaborate fictional history as background, which he wants the reader to believe. This gives new meaning to the term historical fiction. Browns history, which he boasts is based on thorough research, is about as credible as Robert Blakes alibi.
That history posits that Jesus wasnt divine and never claimed to be. (So why was he accused of blasphemy when he forgave sins? Never mind.) He married and had a child with Mary Magdalene, whom he wanted to lead his church after he was gone. (What did he need to create and leave a church for? Did he know he was going to die young? Never mind.) But misogynist males hated Mrs. Jesus, so she fled to France and had her baby (a girl!), whose secret line eventually became royalty. Meanwhile, the male church denigrated the memory of Mrs. Jesus, née Magdalene, and denied her original role.
Okay. Follow me so far? Browns world-famous expert on church history, Sir Leigh, informs us that Jesus was first proclaimed divine by the Emperor Constantine in A.D. 325, which suggests that the world-famous expert is unacquainted with the New Testament, let alone the Patristic writings and early controversies of the church. (Why did the church still exist in 325, if everyone had always assumed that Jesus was only a human? Didnt it worship him? Or was it just a Jesus Memorial Society? Oh, never mind.)
Tiny secret societies kept the truth alive through the ages, so Leonardo da Vinci found out about it and encoded it in his ostensibly Christian paintings, which Browns hero decodes for the reader. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church continued its misogynistic tradition, oppressing them and blaming them for everything. During the Middle Ages, the reader is informed, the Church burned no fewer than five million women as witches! And not only did it burn much of Europes female population at the stake (without protest from the men) it prevented historians from finding out about it!
Browns suspense story is grippingly plausible, with some of the most stunning plot twists Ive ever read. Its his historical background thats like a goofy dream. You want to argue with it until you pause to reflect that it doesnt make any sense. Its not just untrue; it couldnt possibly be true. Its like a story set in todays New York City in which the hero finds out that the discovery of America was all a huge hoax. If it was perpetrated by the Catholic Church, Brown could do a sequel about this. Brown has proved once more that any smear of the Church, no matter how absurd, will find a willing audience.
For inside the Vatican, it would seem, Church officials know all the secrets Brown has brought to light, from Mrs. Jesus on, and theyre still trying to prevent the rest of us from finding out. That would explain why Cardinal Bertone has denounced The Da Vinci Code. Just as Brown would expect.
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