May 14, 2006

Setting a place for Dan Brown

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Special to Newsday
Forty million hardcover copies have been sold, the paperback is a bestseller, and the movie will open to sellout crowds this week. What's driving The Da Vinci Code craze? Is it something in the story or in us?

Sure, it's got a winning combination of suspense and secrets, spiced with art history and a little romance. But is there something more fundamental fueling the success of Dan Brown's fiction?

The Roman Catholic Church, quick to condemn its theology, can't ignore its sociology. Christians want to know Jesus, how he lived and who he loved. It's a task easily accomplished through the Gospels, which are proclaimed and preached at Mass every day. But my guess is that Catholics will pack theaters rather than parishes to gain a glimpse of the holy on Friday, in spite of the Vatican's urging the faithful to boycott The Da Vinci Code.

Disillusioned by the priest sex-abuse scandal, worn out by the clergy crisis and conflicts between culture and church teaching, Catholics -- young Catholics in particular -- might look toward Hollywood for hope and healing this week. It will be a futile attempt to replace faith, but nonetheless a sign that broken hearts still want to believe.

Posted by kshaw at May 14, 2006 08:11 AM