Media Watch

Christianity Is The Real ‘Da Vinci Code’

THE NEW REPUBLIC, Aug. 16-23 — Renaissance scholar Ingrid Rowland has a clue for Dan Brown, author of the controversial novel The Da Vinci Code — if you really want to know the hidden meaning of Leonardo Da Vinci's famed Last Supper fresco, study the New Testament.

Brown's potboiler claims that Jesus and Mary Magdalene secretly married and had children, and that this shocking fact has been kept hidden by the Catholic Church.

The key “evidence” cited by Brown is his assertion that the androgynous figure to the right of Jesus in Da Vinci's Last Supper is actually Mary Magdalene, and that the painting contains other coded symbolism that discloses their marriage.

Rowland, who is Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at the American Academy in Rome, dismisses Brown's bizarre thesis in a lengthy article in The New Republic magazine. The Last Supper is symbolic, she agrees, but like most great Renaissance art its symbolism comes straight from the Bible.

“The Gospels were as demanding in the fifteenth century as they had been in the first, with their threats to overturn society and to transform souls, and they remain the single most reliable key to Italian Renaissance art,” wrote Rowland. “They are the real Da Vinci Code.”

Kazan Icon Is Already a Symbol of Unity

WWW.CHIESA,July 31 — On Aug. 28, in a gesture that Pope John Paul II hopes will promote Catholic-Orthodox unity, a papal delegation will deliver a prized copy of the Icon of Kazan to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II.

And should the patriarch send the sacred artwork back to Kazan — as the city's Muslim mayor has already requested — it will become a visible symbol of the unusual harmony that exists there already.

In an article published in the Italian newspaper Il Foglio and translated by www.chiesa, Pigi Colognesi notes that Orthodox Christians and Muslims each account for about half of Kazan's population.

Relations between them — and with Kazan's tiny Jewish and Catholic minorities — are remarkably peaceful, the journalist reported after a trip there. Summed up Colognesi, “even if Tatarstan is not heaven on earth, at least it shows a way of coexistence that until now has proven attainable and fruitful for all.”

Ratzinger: Church's New Springtime Is Underway

CATHNEWS.COM, Aug. 10 — Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says that Pope John Paul II's “new springtime” of the Church is already a reality.

Cardinal Ratzinger told the Polish Catholic news agency KAI in a recent interview that new Catholic groups are sprouting up, Australian-based Cathnews reported.

But, Cardinal Ratzinger cautioned, “we should not think that in the near future Christianity will become a movement of the masses again, going back to a situation like Medieval times.”

Instead, the cardinal said committed Catholics will exist as “powerful minorities, which have something to say and something to bring to society, [and] will determine the future.”

Pope's Pilgrimage Captivates Chinese Catholics

ASIANEWS.IT, Aug. 10 — Chinese Catholics were preparing to join themselves spiritually with Pope John Paul II on his Aug. 14-15 pilgrimage to Lourdes, an unnamed Chinese priest told Asianews.

“Your Holiness! Please, remember us always in your prayers, especially when you are in Lourdes,” the Chinese priest said. “Most Chinese Catholics will not be there but in spirit shall accompany you on your journey, and shall remember you in their prayers as they recite the Holy Rosary.”