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May 15, 2006


Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will host a presentation on The Da Vinci Code and Catholic teaching for a group of students and young adults. Fr. Gregory Fairbanks, a professor at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary will join the Cardinal for the session. Media are welcome to cover.

12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office Center - Auditorium
222 North 17th Street

Cardinal Rigali's Statement Regarding The Da Vinci Code

"The Da Vinci Code is an exercise in storytelling, an amalgam of myths and conspiracy theories, which falsely represents our Christian history and beliefs. Even the author has identified this as a work of fiction. Unfortunately, many people who have read the book and plan to see the movie believe the falsehoods they propagate. While this is deeply troubling, it is my hope that would-be readers and movie viewers see this as an opportunity to learn the truth about Jesus and the Church He founded.

Sacred Scripture and the Tradition of the Church tell us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born as a man to redeem humanity. In contrast to the apparent premise of the novel, the Catholic Church has consistently taught that Jesus was celibate. Jesus' celibate witness points humanity to an understanding of the Kingdom of God, where "they neither marry nor are given in marriage" (cf. Mk12:25). Jesus has wedded Himself not to one person but to the entire Church and through that He gives life to all who are born of water and the Spirit (cf. Jn 3:5).

Because of the extreme amount of publicity the novel has received, we also know that it distorts the heroic figure of Mary Magdalene. In truth, this strong woman was a disciple of Jesus who was transformed by her encounter with the mercy of God revealed through Jesus. The Gospels reveal that Mary Magdalene was the first witness of the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday morning. Because of her fidelity to Jesus and her privilege to be the one to announce to the Apostles that Jesus had risen, the Church holds Mary Magdalene in great esteem.

I encourage everyone who is curious about the stories spun by The Da Vinci Code to attend an educational forum at a parish or school and to visit a web site specifically created to address this novel by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ( Our own Archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Standard & Times has printed many stories on this subject. Take advantage of the wealth of information available and see how easy it is to find the truth and deepen your faith.

The Catholic Church has faced previous challenges that presented false perspectives of Christianity. Just as in the past, today the Catholic Church is going to great lengths to provide the truth as based upon divine revelation and centuries of biblical scholarship about our Savior, Jesus Christ."

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Donna M. Farrell
Director of Communications

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