The Jessica Journals:

May 08, 2006: The Morality Code

Sunday, May 7th, 2006: but twelve short days from the greatest day in Hollywood history since King Kong was released, which in turn was the greatest day since Brokeback Mountain first showed. Yes, I speak of the wide release of The Da Vinci Code, a sure-fire blockbuster based on a book I've never read, starring a man I am apathetic about, revolving around a lot of conspiracy theories I think are rot.

As only a person who has been living under a rock does not know, the Catholic Church is none too happy about the popularity of the book or the release of the film, and, when Matt Drudge started talking about the Catholic Church's reaction to the film I did something that my social anxiety disorder has never allowed me to do before. I called into a nationally syndicated talk radio show, and, beyond that, I actually got on air and talked while who knows how many people listened to me.

Thanks to the Pretend Pundit, and his Drudge Radio archives I have a clip of my appearance from which I have been able to write a transcript, both of which can be obtained here.

Needless to say, public extemporaneous speaking is not my forte, and, while I don't think I made a complete idiot of myself, I can express myself much more coherently when I am writing.

I find it utterly impossible to take the reaction of Catholic leaders to The Da Vinci Code as anything more than a poorly executed PR move. The Catholic Church has made a mockery of itself by the way it has allowed its most innocent and vulnerable members to be abused and has, for many years, systematically ignored and covered up that abuse. Now, Catholic leaders are hot and bothered by a popular work of fiction and the rehashed conspiracy theories about Christ and the Catholic Church presented therein. On the one hand, a Cardinal who was a candidate for pope is advocating or encouraging catholics to take legal action against The Da Vinci Code, on the other hand, the Catholic Church has fought tooth and nail against the lawsuits brought against them.

I have not heard Catholic leaders take anything approaching as strong and unequivocal a stance against the abuse of children by priests as they have against The Da Vinci Code. On the one hand, we have fragile human beings wounded to their souls by men they should have been able to trust. On the other hand, we have a book of fiction and a movie that do nothing more than repeat old lies in, from what I have been told, a rather second rate manner. The kindest thing I can say is that Catholic leaders have their priorities hopelessly mixed up.

Needless to say, I angered a couple catholics (whom you can listen to here), specifically Mary from Wisconsin who IMed Drudge the following:

Jessica from Wisconsin really ticked me off. I am sick to death of all the Catholic-bashing. No one is more troubled by the criminal activities of a tiny percentage of priests than faithful catholics, but the issue has nothing to do with The Da Vinci Code. For her to use that scandal as a reason to see that movie is indicative of how twisted she is. What a bitter, hateful person. Let's go send her to Omen. I won't be seeing the movie not because the Vatican tells me what to do or because there's some sort of organized boycott. I personally am choosing not to pay [pave?] Sony pockets, by paying for something that disrespects my faith. I dare Sony to mock Islam. Let's see Opie take on Islam.

I don't understand how it could be considered "Catholic-bashing" to merely point out the obvious: The Catholic Church doesn't have a lot of--if any--moral authority right now because of the way it has responded to the victimization of its youngest, most fragile members.

It is perfectly reasonable to refuse to see The Da Vinci Code because it disrespects your faith, but do you not disrespect Christ just as much by paying tithes to a religious institution that speaks out far more strongly against a movie that will soon be forgotten than it does against the rape of children who will never forget what they endured?



Copyright 2006 Jessica Menn