Wednesday, May 24, 2006

BANGALORE: Archbishop's Circular on Da Vinci Code


Dear Rev. Fathers / Sisters / Brothers / Lay Faithful

You would have known by now that the film The Da Vinci Code, based on Dan Brown's novel of the same title, will be released in India tomorrow. The Catholic Bishops of India have already protested against the release of this movie as it affects the religious sentiments of all Christians in India. But the Government on Thursday allowed the screening of this controversial film without any cuts. But, after taking into consideration, the views expressed by the CBCI, it has given this movie an 'Adults Only' certification and with a 'disclaimer' (This film is a work of pure fiction and has no correspondence to historical facts of the Christian religion) to be exhibited at the beginning and the end of the film.

I have already expressed my concerns in the print and electronic media regarding this movie, which is causing tremendous confusions in the minds of the people, and I even labeled it as the Devil's Code. "It tries to present fiction as truth and there is a likelihood that many people could end up with a distorted and erroneous view of the Church and Christianity" as one of the dailies published.

As you are fully aware, this film has caused a pastoral challenge for us to guide our people either to totally boycott it or view it with utmost care and critical-mind. It is also an opportunity for a deeper catechesis and to proclaim the true reality of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

We can see that this novel has caused a stir all over the world. Of course, here in India everything sensational makes a stir and quickly blows over. I suspect this will be true of the Da Vinci Code. Yes, it is blasphemous and it is a diabolical attack on our Lord Jesus who has sustained and overcome diabolical attacks before. I'm sure he will do it again. However, it is also a diabolical attack on our faith and what we believe Jesus to be. There are so many people who are simple and unfortunately they will be influenced by this book and film. In the light of the existing controversy and requests from different quarters for proper direction, I am giving a few guidelines, which I want you to read out to the people on Sunday, 28th May at all the Masses.

1. The film Da Vinci Code is based on a novel and it is not based on history. The true life of Jesus Christ is depicted in the Gospels.

2. People must not become gullible and believe whatever they see in the film as media create false realities and have the power to 'make believe facts'.

3. To clarify people's doubt, a study group in the parish should be formed. A few learned persons who have made a through study of the film could guide the people, especially the youth in the parish.

4. Special prayers to be offered for media personnel that they may not exploit the simple faith of the common people and that people who view this movie may not be misguided and/or lose faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ.

5. The faithful should be helped to foster their personal relationship with Jesus by conducting regularly the Bible Classes with special focus on the Gospels, and by the screening of the movies: Jesus of Nazareth, the Passion of the Christ etc.

I am also enclosing my Press Release and a few points on this film: The Da Vinci Code for your information and sharing.

With every good wish and God's blessings,
Yours sincerely in Christ,

Bernard Moras
Archbishop of Bangalore

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