Da Vinci Boosts Opus Dei

Thanks for the help, Dan Brown.

Papal interviewer Vittorio Messori says the slurs leveled against Opus Dei in Brown’s lurid and historically inaccurate novel The Da Vinci Code actually have sparked a growth surge by the Catholic apostolate.

One of the characters featured in Brown’s fictional potboiler is an albino Opus Dei “monk-assassin,” and overall the novel paints a grim picture of the Catholic Church in general and Opus Dei in particular.

But according to Messori — the Italian Catholic journalist who collaborated with Pope John Paul II and then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on book-length interviews — the “tsunami” of publicity generated by The Da Vinci Code has allowed Opus Dei to inform more people about its real mission: promoting sanctity in the daily lives of ordinary Catholics.

The howlers in Brown’s book (Opus Dei is not a religious order and consequently has no monks, for example) and the Catholic group’s measured defense have attracted widespread praise for Opus Dei’s policy of “elegant understatement,” Messori said in a Sept. 30 article in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Thursday marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of Opus Dei by Spanish priest St. Josemaria Escriva.

— Tom McFeely