Catholics Riot At Theaters!
The following is something you are not likely to read in The New York Times “Week in Review” section for Sunday, May 28, 2006.
In the wake of last weekend’s
outbreaks of violence in
But his statement, did little to quell the controversy, which is bringing more people out to the streets than to the box office.
Brown was interviewed by Internet
video linkup from an undisclosed location because of numerous threats against
his life. He has not been seen for a month entering or leaving his
A spokesman for the Quebecois splinter group Les Brigades Splendides de Saint-Pius V (The Glorious Brigades of St. Pius V) claimed late last month to have enough weaponry to “infiltrate the hiding place of the infidel.”
Meanwhile, thousands of Christians mobbed theaters on the film’s opening night, May 19, chanting “Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat!” (“Christ Conquers! Christ is King! Christ is Lord of all!”).
There were scattered reports of scuffles between the Christians and moviegoers, some of whom were there to see other films.
In a dozen cities, there were
reports that the Christian demonstrators blocked entrances to theaters. In
The kerfuffle did not die down by Saturday night. Even larger crowds, many of whom went straight from hearing condemnatory sermons at evening Mass to their local theaters, came out to protest, and the number of cities seeing demonstrations double.
Tensions died down on Sunday,
though a number of Christian leaders appeared on talk shows defending the
actions of the crowds. “This film, and the book upon which it is based, is an
insult to Christians throughout the world,” said
On the West Coast, Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony refused to distance himself from threats against Sony Pictures, which released The Da Vinci Code movie. A group calling itself the Militia of the Angels has said on its website that Sony faces “eternal flames and endless years of anguish” if it went ahead with the release. Cardinal Mahony told CNN’s Delia Gallagher, “I believe they were speaking metaphorically.”
Police have been unable to find the militia’s leaders, who use their website to issue daily “anathemas” — somewhat analogous to “fatwas” — against Dan Brown, director Ron Howard and financiers of the film.
But Cardinal Mahony,
who heads a flock largely made up of Mexican-Americans, commented, “The real
crime is the insensitivity on the part of those responsible for this film.” He
complained that the “simple faith of millions of Catholics” has been attacked
by the story’s premise — that Jesus fathered children and that the Church has
been suppressing that secret since the time of
Meanwhile, an international
incident erupted when representatives of Sony and Doubleday, the novel’s
publisher, refused a meeting with the papal nuncio to the
Nevertheless, Dan Brown may be in hiding for a very long time. Though Opus Dei, the group that plays a large role in the novel, has been quiet since the film’s opening night, there are rumors that top commanders in the organization have been in talks with the Blue Army and the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher.
Said a spokesman for the Catholic peace group Pax Christi, “They’re preparing for a holy war.”
John Burger is the
Register’s news editor.
- May 14-20, 2006