The Web site is
an attempt to provide a solid Catholic response to the false statements
made about the Church in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, soon to be
released in theatres as a feature-length film.
The Web site
includes contributions from historians, an Opus Dei priest, Bishop
Gerald Kicanas, the U.S. bishops’ communications office and other
experts. Its purpose is to communicate the truth about the Church and
the Catholic faith in light of the film’s upcoming May 19 release.
trashing Christianity, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is a veritable
museum of errors where Renaissance art is concerned,” writes Lev.
informative essay focuses on the artist at the centre of Brown’s story,
Leonardo Da Vinci, and his renowned work, The Last Supper. She
methodically debunks each claim Brown makes about the Renaissance
artist’s work and life with historical evidence.
have been slow in responding [to The Da Vinci Code], mostly because it
is difficult to know where to start,” she says. “The novelist’s
imaginative notions of iconography may make for best-selling fiction,
but they are wildly at variance with what is known about the life and
work of Leonardo.”
Brown’s ignorance through his mistaken interpretation of Da Vinci’s
Mona Lisa, Virgin on the Rocks, and The Last Supper.
appetite for desecration reaches its pinnacle when he comes to
Leonardo’s finest masterpiece, The Last Supper,” she writes.
Brown’s theory that the figure of the Apostle John is really Mary
Magdalene “preposterous” and explains how Da Vinci’s soft-featured,
long-haired and beardless depiction of John was a typical artistic
style used in Renaissance art to depict young men.
Lev also points
out that “Brown’s throwaway assertion that Leonardo was ‘a flamboyant
homosexual’ remains unsubstantiated…. The simple fact is that Leonardo
lived a Christian life.”
Alan Schreck takes readers through the first four Church councils —
Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon — and the conclusions
they reached, namely that Jesus was both human and divine, born of
Mary, the Mother of God. Schreck is a professor of theology at
Franciscan University in Steubenville.
author of De-coding Da Vinci, also contributes to the Web site. She
points out the historical fallacies that Brown puts forth and questions
his historical sources. She observes that Brown did not refer to any of
the scores of texts, from the mid-1st century to the 4th century, which
have survived and which indicate very clearly what early Christians
believed. Instead, he refers to Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Templar
Revelation, which do not reflect serious historical scholarship, she
traces the origin of the Priory of Sion and shows that Brown’s
depiction of this and his claim that Leonardo Da Vinci belonged to it
“The Priory of
Sion was a small group of disaffected right-wing anti-Semitic
monarchists founded in 1956 in France. They forged the documents Brown
describes in this book, and snuck them into French libraries. The fraud
was widely exposed in the early 1970’s in France,” she states. In other
words, the Priory of Sion did not exist in Da Vinci’s era.
The Web site
addresses other issues, which are misrepresented in Brown’s book, with
great clarity, such as the Gnostic writings, the celibacy of Jesus,
Mary Magdalene and her role in Jesus’ life, Opus Dei and women in the
The Web site has
a page that addresses readers’ questions and promotes a television
documentary, titled Jesus Decoded, which also seeks to debunk the myths
about the Church put forth by The Da Vinci Code.
was produced by the USCCB and has been made available to all NBC
affiliates. The Web site has a finder that lists when and on what
channel the documentary will be shown in each state.
For more, go to: www.jesusdecoded.com
Da Vinci Code is “a museum of errors,” says Elizabeth Lev. The art
history professor at Duquesne University’s Italian campus is only one
of several experts who have contributed to the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops’ new Web site, Jesus Decoded.