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Friday, January 13, 2006

The Sun, Making Lemonade and Being Discerning Catholics

The sun's out!

After days and days of rain and thw wet/cold weather, the sunshine is a very warm wlecome indeed! Don't know how long this will stay, though. I can still see some cloudiness of the sky looming in the background.

Came across a report from Zenit concerning the upcoming movie of the infamous (and the utterly self aggrandizing) Dan Brown's book 'The Da Vinci Code' and how despite its notoriety, is bringing about some interesting and positive enquiries for the Opus Dei, which is (ridiculously)portrayed as the main villian in the (stupid!) book and presumably in the movie.

Marc Carroggio, who oversees Opus Dei's relationship with the international media, told ZENIT that interest about the book and the film "is turning out to be a sort of indirect publicity for us." Carroggio added that, given the existence of the movie, there will be no fight against anyone. An effort is being made to take advantage of the great interest aroused to propose the figure of Jesus Christ, he stressed.

Hear! Hear! I have already sounded off to the catechetical coordinator in the parish to see if there is any opportunity to look into the area of pre-empting the (obviously) wrong impression that may arise from the upcoming movie, with a series of talks or presentation about this topic and other relevant issues to be given to the youths here. This is because, they were the most affected (including some young adults who seemed taken in by the need to find any fault with the Church so that they won't feel guilty with their strange sense of freedom in doing whatever THEY want) group of people who are unable to discern and sift through the nonsense this novel has churned up.

Even other local Christian groups have already put into place several activities and talks to address this! I'd say this is a very good opportunity for us to work together and bring about further closer ties in ecumenical efforts.

But what about the general public? Or the general parishioner, the Sunday Catholics and those who go through life with whatever they see fit to suit their theology or principles (if they even have one)? Here is where a wise answer from Marc Carroggio can give us some food for thought: "The novel is essentially parasitical: The author makes a name for himself by attacking a major cultural figure, and he presents it as art. If the plot did not center on Jesus Christ, the book would lose its appeal. I think that the best response is simply to help people to know Jesus Christ. I suspect that in the coming year, many people will be moved to read the Gospels or a book about the life of Jesus Christ. They will be drawn to consider the great themes of faith, which give light to the most difficult questions of human existence. For me, these are all ways of turning the lemon into lemonade."

Turning lemon into lemonade. Another wise and simpler way to say, "If life gives you a lemon, make lemonade!" A positive manner to approach a seemingly notorious problem that seems to a have mind of its own, running roughshod over all sense of order and reality. Then we also have Rom 8: 28 to give us that reassurance that evil or anything that goes against the Christian sense will eventually be overcome by God's own will and power for those who continue to place their trust in Him.

I'm sure there are some of you out there who are wondering why can't we, the Church, sue Sony-Columbia for defamation. After all the name of the Church and in particular the Opus Dei have been maligned. Another wise stance from Marc: "Suppose a movie revealed that Sony-Columbia was not what we had always thought but was a secret group of assassins run by the Mafia, but included a disclaimer that it was just fiction. Somehow I doubt their lawyers would be satisfied. I am sure they would threaten a suit. Still, legal action is like an icon of institutional conflict. It would be "Opus Dei vs. Sony-Columbia." To me that just sounds almost surreal. As I said earlier, the only thing Opus Dei is going to do is to make a declaration of peace." Ironic isn't it? In the business world, especially in entertainment, anything goes - if you can make it stick! Fairness? No such thing!

So, do we SEE the movie? The following again will be a good rule of thumb: "An interesting question is whether this movie should be only for adults. Any adult with a minimum of education can distinguish reality from fiction. But when history is manipulated, you cannot expect a child to make proper judgments. Merely adding a disclaimer that says 'Fiction' is not enough. Just as we protect children from explicit sex and violence, it would seem to make sense to protect them from violence that is more subtle and thus more insidious. I think it is reasonable to be concerned about this question. Besides thinking about profits, one should also think about possible negative influences on the young. As I said earlier, this is not the time for sowing disharmony among persons, nations and religions, but rather understanding."

Should YOU see the movie? By all means go ahead! Just check your brains outside the cinema and enjoy the braindead nonsense it serves up with usual cinematice wizardry that we come to expect these days. After that, go for coffee or tea or whatever fancy your palate and discuss the merits of the director's choice in casting Tom Hanks as the hero of the plot and why must 'Da Vinci' be used and not 'Leonardo'... ;)

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