Controversy may actually do some good

Published 11:54 am Wednesday, May 17, 2006

By Staff
When I went to Washington D.C. the other week I bought myself a book for my souvenir, that I could really have bought anywhere.
I had delayed reading The Da Vinci Code, mainly because of all the hype.
The fact I didn't devour it in one reading lasting until the wee hours came as a surprise. That is my normal. Instead I have been reading a few chapters each night.
I almost think I need a dictionary at my night table, as some of the words are beyond me.
The French words bring me back to my high school class. Some sentences I can actually translate.
I came from a totally Catholic background, through grade school nuns, high school and even college. Since my father was Lutheran though, religion wasn't discussed much in the home. The kids were to be raised Catholic - end of discussion - or my parents probably couldn't have married.
I had studied Da Vinci's art in my art history classes, so I was familiar with many of the paintings mentioned, but I have never been to Europe, so the passages do not bring back any memories of travels.
Soon the movie will be out made from the book.
A phone survey done by a group which studies Catholic trends have found a surprising trend. More Catholics are seeking to read the scriptures now to learn the truth.
A work of fiction has become an influence to Catholics nationwide to read their Bibles.
I remember I once was bound and determined I would read my Bible cover to cover. I must have been around 12.
After getting through all those begetting passages I decided to stick with the New Testament and forgo the Old.
Truthfully I too have thought about going back to reading the Bible since I started on The Da Vinci Code. Not necessarily because I am trying to see what is true, but mainly because it has become interesting to me again, as it was when I was 12.
Dan Brown's novel has the Roman Catholic Church covering up “the truth” about Jesus and says he was married to Mary Magdalene.
They were supposed to have had a child. Mary is the real “Holy Grail,” the book claims, not the sacred cup from which Jesus drank at the last supper.
We love our mysteries and this is one mystery which we really can't prove as true or fiction.
I wouldn't say it is the best book I have ever read, though I don't consider it sacrilegious, as so some staunchly religious.
If reading this book turns some readers to dust off their Bibles then it is a good thing.
Unlike many religions, the Catholic Church never really encouraged us to read the Bible. The same passages were read each year according to the liturgical seasons at Mass.
Having one parent in another religion I didn't believe the sisters who taught me that only Catholics would go to heaven. The God I knew wouldn't send such a wonderful kind man as my father to hell.
When I got to college my religion classes were much more liberal than my grade school ones. I was given many perspectives to study.
I hope the movie will inspire exploration of religion and art. People questioning can be for the good. I hope the Catholic Church sees this.
I don't know if I will see the movie, at least not until it makes the cable channel.
I usually find I am disappointed after reading the book. The movie never measures up to my imagination.
When I finally finish, I hope instead I drag out my Bible. I just may make another attempt to read it cover to cover.