Jun 6, 2006

The Millbury Catechism

Today’s Worcester Telegram has a letter to the Editor from Ronald Stacy of Millbury, claiming that he is miffed by the furor about the Da Vinci Code, but not offended one bit by the movie. Mr. Stacey also says of those who believe author Dan Brown’s claim that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene: “Maybe they’re right, maybe not.” Mr. Stacey is ashamed of “the Vatican even getting involved.”

The clincher is that Mr. Stacey claims to be Catholic, a lector and catechist, and a member of St. Vincent DePaul.

Since the premise of Brown’s Da Vinci Code is that Jesus was not divine, not the Son of God, merely human, and did not rise from the dead on the third day, it is more than a little disconcerting that Mr. Stacy appears not to know if the basic fundamental tenets of his Catholicism are true. The point of Da Vinci is that people are chumps or fools if they believe in Jesus as he is presented in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. As character Leigh Teabing [Ian McClellan] says in the Da Vinci Code, “Many scholars claim that the early Church literally stole Jesus from His original followers…What I mean is that almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.” Dan Brown offers the antidote to Christian suckerdom – the new Gnosis, the secret knowledge of the Neo-Gnostics that we are our own gods, and do not need the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Brown’s ‘proof’ is that “scholars have known this for ages.”

In the thousands of pages written by the early Christians, there is no mention that Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus. Not even the false Gnostic Gospels make this claim. Mary Magdalene is honored as a Saint by the Church, a repentant sinner, whom Jesus cast 7 demons out of, who was present at the foot of the Cross with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the first to see the resurrected Jesus and bring the news to the Apostles.

Gnostics believed in the evilness of the body and of the physical world, and sought liberation of the body to a purely spiritual world. The false Gnostic Gospel of Phillip, written in Coptic, not Greek, at least 100 years after the Canonical Gospels, makes a claim that Jesus loved Mary Magdalene the most, and used to kiss her. Though the text is unclear because a word is missing, some scholars think that the Gospel of Phillip says Jesus used to kiss Mary Magdalene on the lips. This is Gnostic symbolism, secret knowledge is passed by the mouth, and the Gnostic interpretation of this would have been Jesus was passing along the secret knowledge of Gnosticism to Mary. Since Gnostics believed the body was evil, many were against marriage. Which is why Brown’s claim is so preposterous, and why it is so disconcerting that Mr. Stacey does not understand the preposterousness of Brown’s premise.

I’d suggest Mr. Stacey take a leave of absence from his catechism classes, and learn his faith, and learn to recognize a bold face and blatant attack on his faith when he sees it. As Da Vinci Code co-producer, and former chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment John Calley, told The New York Times (9/7/2005), this movie was "conservatively anti-Catholic" even though it might not have been "destructively so." Destructive Anti-Catholicism comes from within.

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