Thursday, June 26, 2003

Dan Brown's DaVinci Errors

Dan Brown's mega-popular "DaVinci Code" is an OK read that posits a sinister role for the Catholic Church and the Knights Templar over the last 17 centuries. The book is supposedly well-researched, and seems so possible . . . until Brown stumbles on a basic tenet of Catholic faith. The book then starts to appear sloppy, as well as being anti-Catholic to the core.

Among Brown's big mistakes is a misunderstanding of The Immaculate Conception. Brown has a serious religious scholar wrongly describing the Immaculate Conception as the miraculous implantation of the sinless Jesus in Mary's womb . . . but it is not. The Immaculate Conception -- as anyone who as ever take one religious class in college can tell you -- refers to the miraculous implantation of the sinless Mary in her mother's womb.

Dan Brown wrote a fun, readable yarn in this one . . . but keep in mind the mistakes. Despite what the author seems to be claiming, it is fiction.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Wanted: Brothers

Like any organization looking for new members, the Alexian Brothers selected a professional music video producer (of Madonna's work, no less) to put together recruitment ads for the order. The order traces its history back to the Middle Ages, but currently has a worldwide membership of 37, of whom the median age is a spry 65. The ads have been running for a month or so now on channels as disparate as MSNBC and the Golf Channel.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Dirty Money?

One of these executives of a failed company, Tyco, has tried to do good. Mark Belnick, the top in-house counsel at the mega-conglomerate, was paid $12 million as a bonus. Prosecutors are now claiming that the bonus was "hush money" to keep Belnick from testifying against the former CEO, Dennis Kozlowski, who is charged with pillaging the company. But the payment that Belnick received went almost immediately to a small Catholic college in California, and to a pro-life organization in Washington. Belnick, formerly an observant Jew, quietly converted to Catholicism a few months before receiving the bonus. The Wall Street Journal had a fascinating front-page piece last Wednesday about Belnick, and how his "two journeys" intersected at Tyco. According to the paper, Belnick "became embroiled in one of the messiest corporate scandals ever, and simultaneously pursued a sudden conversion and devotion to Catholic philanthropy." Check out the piece. It is a neat look at the changed life.

Monday, June 02, 2003

The Atheist Minister

From Yahoo! News: A Danish Minister, Thorkild Grosboel, has stated in a recent interview that "there is no God, there is no eternal life, there is no resurrection." A couple of questions spring to mind as a result. 1) If you do not believe, why do you go into this line of work? 2) Does the confession of faith mean so little to Grosboel that he ignored it as he became a minister and 3) Has the Danish church so watered down the message of redemption that an atheist could feel comfortable with a career as a clergyman? I am not sure who is responsible for this situation. Bishop Lise-Rotte Rebel, who oversees Grosboel, has demanded a retraction and an apology, so the official church seems to have the right attitude.