DaVinci Code Controversies

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by Bridget Eileen - Writer in Providence, Rhode Island 

The following post was originally posted on one of Bridget Eileen’s old blogs: In the Pines, Neophyte Poetics, Bridget Eileen’s Commonplace Book, Dreaming Bridge Designs or A Vegetarian Notebook. They aren’t all fancy with photos and subheadings and search descriptions, or even that much content, sometimes. They’re here for posterity, because it’s fun to read the archives!

The Run Up to DaVinci Code’s fevered pitch
So, if you’ve read the book, you may be excited about the movie. I have to admit, I’m rather curious. I thought the book was fun. Not the best literary writing, but the plot and the issues addressed were rather titillating. As we come upon the theatrical release, news stories are gathering. I heard one particular commentary on NPR from a priest named Father James Martin. This is the link to the NPR story:
If you don’t have means to listen, it's essentially a complaint about how stupid people are for believing Jesus married Mary Magdalene and moved to France with their children. It was so snooty and condescending that it prompted me to write this back:
Could you please pass this message along to Fr. James Martin?
Dear Rev Martin,
I am sorry that you fail to understand an important aspect of the questions you receive regarding “The DaVinci Code“, Jesus, the Magdalene and the Catholic church. For I clearly see that the allure of the idea of Jesus being married and having children comes not just from its shock value and conspiracy theory appeal but from a deep-seated desire among many recovering Catholics and other Christians to reconcile the alleged vehement asexuality, even anti-sexuality, of Christ and our own rational, naturally positive feelings about sex and sexuality. To say that Jesus, too, was a sexual being would eschew all irrational and oppressive anti-sexual doctrine from founding fathers like Thomas Aquinas and Augustine. It could liberate all unnecessary guilt towards sexuality. It would revolutionize the Church.
“The DaVinci Code” also addresses another pressing issue for contemporary Christians: the absence of roles for women within the church. More specifically, roles that go beyond the feminine, beyond the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene the prostitute. I have just re-read Margaret Maxey’s essay “Beyond Eve and Mary,” which addresses this issue in detail. Dan Brown’s novel isn’t a scholarly essay, so its depth doesn’t compare. But at least someone is addressing these issues in a very public light.
To simply dismiss people’s curiosity because it is evoked by popular fiction is an enormous waste of opportunity for serious ecclesiastical dialogue. The Catholic church has never seemed willing to engage in such things, instead preferring dogma and so-called conservatism–especially with the new Pope–, so I should not be surprised that a priest would trivialize genuine inquiries. I suggest that instead of being snide, snooty and dismissive about people’s curiosity on the validity of “The DaVinci Code” you should instead listen more carefully to their questions.
Bridget Madden
So, we’ll see how that goes…UPDATE: Never heard from Rev. Martin. (Quel surprise...)