Clandestine societies? Machiavellian Churchmen getting away with murder? Scandalous hidden meanings in masterpieces of art? These can only mean one thing: Dan Brown is back. Before the release of the film adaptation of his pre-Da Vinci Code potboiler, Angels and Demons, get the lowdown on the book’s factual errors and anti-Catholicism.
Among the most politically correct opinions today is that the Catholic Church was committed to Europe’s “conquest” of the New World—meaning oppression of the native populations and decimation of their cultures. In reality, the mission priests and sisters were often the indigenous peoples’ only defenders against exploitation. Other missionaries paid with their lives
to spread the gospel.
According to a widely held Protestant belief, the first Christians got their truths chiefly from Scripture; apostolic teaching had only a minor role in shaping Church doctrine. Moreover, Peter’s successor didn’t always have the final word. But a dispute about baptism between two early saints—a bishop and a pope—reveals exactly the opposite.
Media is more effective when it entertains and when it appeals to people’s emotions.The great temptations in journalism are to sink to the level of mere entertainment and to appeal to people’s worst emotions. In the Catholic world, that emotion is anger. It’s easy for both writer and reader to let anger (however justified) get the better of them and toss fairness out the window.