Sunday, May 14, 2006

on “The da Vinci Code” and Catholic culture

Oh, the tumult over this movie.

This article touches on a point I’ve held for quite a while. It seems to me that exhortations to boycott a movie will only be answered in the negative - and really, I have a hard time seeing why someone should obey a boycott order.

The solution I propose for “The da Vinci Code” is not to boycott it. We need, instead, to provide an alternative and/or corresponding “shocking but true!” line of inquiry for people. We liturgy-minded people have one right in our own backyard: “the Mass as you’ve lived it is a skewed variant of what was intended by most of the Council fathers”. I mean, it’s exciting to read about Bugnini and the Freemasonry theory (which, of all the goofy conspiracy tags I’ve seen out there in traditionalist-land, is the one that seems to carry the most weight). It’s cool to read justifications why Latin should be a part of our regular liturgy. It’s different, and it contradicts the social order handed to us.

Telling people to boycott this movie is like just telling a well-developed 16-year-old girl not to have sex when she goes to parties. In both circumstances, one needs to be convinced that what their urges and their peers compel them to do is not in their best interests. I think the Catholics who will go to see “The da Vinci Code” are the ones looking for something that their regular experience of religion has not provided. Our religion is exciting, and we have a veritable monopoly on things historical that are interesting and profound. My little pet theory is that the Catholics, esp. young ones, who go to see “The da Vinci Code” are the ones who have found the “smiley, happy Jesus” (think the song “Shine, Jesus, Shine”) imagery utterly incongruent with the idea of a God who knows all things, the Alpha and the Omega.

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