Roman Catholic Canon Law defines heresy as "the pertinacious denial or doubt, by a baptized Catholic, of a truth of Divine and Catholic Faith proposed as such by the Supreme Magisterium of the Church." (Canon 750 § 1 Code of Canon Law).
So, technically, any non-Catholics who have swallowed the wagonload of manure that Dan Brown (yuk!) serves up in "The Da Vinci Code" is not a heretic.
I'm not a big name-caller when it comes to other people's beliefs. Some folks are simply misinformed. Some are not too bright. Some don't have the benefit of education. Some grew up in other traditions or migrated to them. Whatever. I don't use fighting words like "heretic" or "schismatic" lightly.
But TDVC is in a class almost by itself. Purportedly accurate about documents, organizations and art, it is absurdly wrong on history; hilariously misinformed about painting; screwed up on theology and bamboozled about secret organizations. About the only thing right about the book are the page numbers, and I'm suspicious about those too.
The book has sold 65 million copies worldwide. That's one big load of cow flop! And countless millions have swallowed the whole load:
- Jesus married to Mary Magdalene
- Sunday Christian worship invented in the 4th century
- Jesus worshipped as a mortal prophet for the first 300 years of Christianity
- Secrets suppressed by the Vatican with great success for 2000 years -- until Dan Brown, that is!
And now, the film. Come May 19, Brown's nonsense will be accessible to the impressionable minds of millions of moviegoers in one of the most culturally illiterate nations on the planet. Nearly all of these will not have the historical, artistic, scriptural or theological sophistication to know they are watching a fictional story based on untruths and unsupported speculation. Over popcorn, they will ingest lies that they have no power or interest to unmask.
Here at The Cranky Catholic, we will be holding TDVC—book and movie–up to scrutiny. You don't have to love every word that issues from the Vatican to realize that what is under attack here is not just a few Catholic and Christian teachings, but truth itself. The work that thousands of scholars have toiled centuries to piece together will be equated (in the minds of many) with a preposterous load of rubbish expertly rendered on film.
The Cranky Catholic plans to stand up and be heard on this issue. Plan for frequent updates on the movie, descriptions of TDVC howlers and just carping in general. Should be a fun ride!