Da Vinci Challenge and Jesus Decoded

With the coming of film version of “The Da Vinci Code” in May, you might like to check out a couple of web sites for information and Christian responses to the issues the novel raises.

An essay that I wrote has just been posted on www.thedavincichallenge.com and there are other wonderful essays by John Allen, Msgr. Frank Maniscalco and others from various Christian communities. Mine is called “Jesus, DaVinci and Cherrios” and asks what it would mean to me as a woman religious if Jesus had been married. There is also a space for you to add your comments to any and all of the essays.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also has a web site called www.JesusDecoded.com; there are several articles about aspects of the novel as well as a trailer for a DVD that the USCCB is producing for release when the film opens.

If you are undecided about reading the novel or seeing the movie, I would like to suggest that if you have family, friends and co-workers who know you are a believer and may ask your opinion of the novel or film, and the Jesus the story advocates, it would be a good idea to read/see it so that you can speak to the issues from a position of informed experience. This is especially so if you are an “opinion leader” in your faith community. When people ask us what we think, and we are prepared, it will be a wonderful opportunity to share about who Jesus is and what faith in Jesus means.

Another reason I suggest that believers read/see TDVC is not to add to Dan Brown’s coffers (which would be a passive position), but to be able to engage in conversation and dialogue with people who may not share our faith – in credible and relevant ways (an active position). This is an opportuntiy for believers to co-opt this pop culture phenomenon and turn TDVC‘s premise to an encounter with the real Jesus – through us.

45 millions copies of the book have been sold and people are asking meaningful questions. Let us be prepared to offer meaningful responses and build bridges between (pop) culture and faith.


Is everything going to be OK?

‘Nobelity’ for Earth Day 2006

In an effort to answer his growing children’s questions about the future of the earth, Texas filmmaker Turk Pipkin set out on a unique journey to find out how to save the world.

Over the course of 18 months Pipkin traveled around the globe visiting nine Nobel laureates to get their views on the world’s problems, the situation of children who are most affected by them, and what in their view, we must do to leave the world a better place. Pipkin’s film, “Nobelity,” is being released for the 36th annual Earth Day on April 22.

Using a framework structured by themes of “Decisions,” “Challenges,” “Change,” “Persistence,” “Peace,” “Reason,” “Love,” “Disparities” and “Knowledge,” Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry, physiology, peace and economics offer insights that create a road map for development and peace.

Wangari Maathai of Kenya, for example, speaks of persistence. She founded the grass roots Green Belt Movement in 1986 and is the first environmentalist to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Through her work Maathai has helped women plant more than 30 million trees at schools, on church grounds, and farms. All wars, she says, are a result of conflict over resources.

Other laureates include Archbishop Desmond Tutu who provides spiritual insight, Jody Williams of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, and Rick Smalley, Nanotechnology Pioneer.

Gentle but incisive, “Nobelity” invites viewers to contemplate the wisdom of the laureates, to engage in dialogue, and take action in the sphere of their daily lives. Because “Nobelity” reinforces the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, teachers and religious educators will find this documentary an inspiring and invaluable resource.

“Nobelity” is a well-paced documentary that is in no hurry to discover the answers to the earth’s survival, responses that require the will to change business as usual. It is a sight and sound environmental experience in itself. “Nobelity” is being released through churches, environmental centers, private theater screenings, and libraries during April and May. For information about screenings in the Los Angeles area visit http://www.nobelitythefilm.com.

—Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP