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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Da Vinci Code, The

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Dan Brown's record-breaking best-seller comes to the screen with most of its spurious historical, artistic and theological misstatements intact. The film follows the book's plot of a Harvard "symbologist" (Tom Hanks) on the run from French police after the murder of a curator from the Louvre museum, with the latter's granddaughter (Audrey Tautou) in tow, as they piece together the motives for the killing, implicating the Catholic Church in a centuries-old conspiracy to suppress an explosive secret. As expected, director Ron Howard has made a glossy, competent thriller, though perhaps a little confusing for those unfamiliar with the book. The performances, including that of Sir Ian McKellen as another scholar and Paul Bettany as the albino monk-assassin, are colorful; the underlying assertions -- particularly as they question Jesus' divinity -- and the obvious falsehoods about Opus Dei are deeply abhorrent. Partly subtitled. Violence including brutal murders, crude language, irreverent underpinning, rear male nudity, scenes of corporal mortification, fleeting hint of prostitution, and glimpse of ritualistic sex. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Apollonia: The persecution of Christians began in Alexandria during the reign of the Emperor Philip. The first victim of the pagan mob was an old man named Metrius, who was tortured and then stoned to death. The second person who refused to worship their false idols was a Christian woman named Quinta. Her words infuriated the mob and she was scourged and stoned. 
<p>While most of the Christians were fleeing the city, abandoning all their worldly possessions, an old deaconess, Apollonia, was seized. The crowds beat her, knocking out all of her teeth. Then they lit a large fire and threatened to throw her in it if she did not curse her God. She begged them to wait a moment, acting as if she was considering their requests. Instead, she jumped willingly into the flames and so suffered martyrdom.</p><p>There were many churches and altars dedicated to her. Apollonia is the patroness of dentists, and people suffering from toothache and other dental diseases often ask her intercession. She is pictured with a pair of pincers holding a tooth or with a golden tooth suspended from her necklace. St. Augustine explained her voluntary martyrdom as a special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, since no one is allowed to cause his or her own death.</p> American Catholic Blog We can find Christ among the despised, voiceless, and forgotten of the world. We have to move beyond that which we wish to ignore and forget about: embrace the seemingly un-embraceable, love the unlovable, and dare to know what we most fear and wish to leave unknowable.

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