Thursday, June 22, 2006

BANGALORE: Symposium Debunks Da Vinci


BANGALORE June 22: Over 900 Catholics representing more than 64 congregations and institutions, and including members from several Catholic associations, attended a symposium on The Da Vinci Code organized by the Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA) at the Good Shepherd Auditorium on Museum Road in Bangalore, last Saturday.

Fr. Adolf Washington, the convenor of the symposium, began with a 45 minute graphic exposition of the false claims and errors of Dan Brown's work. "Brown has cashed in on the innocence of people, by hitting on many subjects where people know little - Art, Ancient Documents, Church Architecture, Pagan Religions, The Grail, Knights Templar, Early Church History", he said.

On Dan Brown's claim that the Church has silenced people who venerated Mary Magdalene because she had married Jesus, Fr. Washington said "this is the most absurd and stupid allegation the author can make. The scriptures (ironically, that Dan Brown says was concocted by the Church) explains clearly that Mary Magdalene had a pride of a place". He pointed out that "Mary Magdalene, was the beneficiary of exorcism by Christ, a disciple who traveled with Jesus in a group of women and the lady who was honoured by the church with the institution of a feast in her name in the 10th Century."

On the question of Mary Magdalene's marriage with Jesus, Fr. Washington pointed out that Dan Brown is poorly informed about "the essenes", a sect that remained single in honour of God. "This means, bachelorhood was acceptable during the time of Jesus, quite contrary to what the author says. Furthermore, had Jesus been married he would have chosen to reveal it to his disciples. The painting of the last supper in which the apostle John is alleged to be Mary Magdalene seated next to Jesus, we must know that it is John painted in a effeminate tone as was the style in Florentine painting and art at that time. Young men were often painted with a feminine tone."

"Even his claim that Jesus' bloodline continued in France's royalty was debunked in 1993 in a French court of law", Fr. Washington added. "Dan Brown has to do a lot of reading of Scripture and History before he makes his next claim about Jesus of the Church."

Fr. Washington carried the audience through an emotional journey of faith. "The Church has always been under attack and the name of Christ has always been desecrated, yet we will hold firm to the faith that has been handed down to us and that we have been personally convinced of. We know whom we have believed."

In order to strengthen their belief in the divinity of Christ, the entire gathering recited, slowly and devoutly, the elaborate 325 AD Nicene Creed. It was a moving scene in the auditorium with many seen wiping tears from their eyes as they recited the creed.

Bernard Moras, the Archbishop of Bangalore, who presided over the Panel of theologians said, "We must do everything possible to resist such books and movies that pervert the minds of people or paint the Church and the name of Christ in bad light. It is our bounden responsibility to uphold our Faith."

Jose Jacob who compered the symposium noted that "Dan brown in an earlier interview called his work pure fiction, but when money began pouring in, he started calling his novel as factual". Eminent theologians too were invited to share their viewpoints on the movie.

The symposium organized as part of ICPA's faith initiative for the faithful of the Archdiocese of Bangalore, drew in crowds from as far as Mangalore and Mysore.

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