Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Angels And Demons Movie

The first Dan Brown book (Da Vinci Code) made into a movie did poorly, compared to what the producers expected or hoped to do. Now the second one is coming out this summer (Angels and Demons) and Carl Olson, who co-wrote The Da Vinci Hoax, has some good reasons on his blog on why we should avoid this movie as well. They include disputations of Ron Howard's defense of the movie as friendly toward the Catholic Church.
FACT: As I've noted before, in Angels & Demons, it is the most fervently orthodox Catholic character, Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca, the papal chamberlain, who turns out to be the villian, while the agnostic/atheistic/hubristic "hero", Robert Langdon, is the cool voice of reason and science. And the recently deceased pope in the novel (which takes place in a short window of time during a papal conclave) is revealed to have had a son (Ventresca, of course!) by artificial insemination. So, the greatest enemy of the Catholic Church, the novel indicates, is not a mysterious group such as the Illuminati, but devout and loyal Catholic leaders. So the "vicious attack," at least in the novel, is being carried out by the most orthodox, traditional Catholic character, with the obvious implication being that orthodox, traditional Catholics tend to be unstable, narrowminded, and even violent.
Of course the fact that the Church would not let Howard step foot in a Catholic church in order to film tells you something about it as well. Then we have this:

FACT: The novel, Angels & Demons, very obviously depicts the Catholic Church as opposed to reason, logic, and science. “Since the beginning of history,” Langdon states nonsensically at one point, “a deep rift has existed between science and religion” (ch. 9. Of course, modern science, which he is referring to, hasn't been around sicne "the beginning of history".) Brown tosses the bone of Fr. Leonardo (a priest who has an adopted daughter. Say what?), but that is only used as a foil to demonstrate how unusual and upsetting it is to the Catholic leaders in the book that a priest would be an accomplished scientist. The novel claims Galileo was persecuted by the Church and that Copernicus was murdered by the Church, neither of which is true. Never mind that the Catholic Church has a long and illustrious history of supporting scientific investigation and scientists (not a few of them priests).

What the novel does, in addition to generally pitting the Catholic Church against science, is to suggest in several ways that the only way the Catholic Church can survive is to either renounce or seriously rework many of her doctrines and beliefs. In Brown's world is appears that science and religion can co-exist, but only if religion defers in all matters to science and secular interests.

I would just suggest we not attend.

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