Monday, May 22, 2006

Way too soon to relax

The usually ferocious William Donohue of The Catholic League went to see DVC, and had this to say at the end of his dismissive review:

Had the movie been a success, the effect would have been troubling. But because it fails to persuade, this is one movie practicing Christians have nothing to worry about.

I'm not at all convinced. I can well imagine that the movie failed to persuade Bill, since he has taken the trouble to educate himself tirelessly on early Church history, Gnosticism, and the other topics DVC muddies up. But have most practicing Catholics innoculated themselves and their families to a similar degree? I really, really doubt it. It's way too early to relax about DVC, even about its effect on Catholics who attend Mass weekly and do the other things 'practicing' Catholics do.

Yes, critical reaction was largely negative, and reaction of moviegoers in Italy was mixed, but that doesn't mean that the movie can't still deceive. The film grossed $70 million on its opening weekend. It will be seen by hundreds of millions of people before the last DVD spins, decades from now. Few of them will see it with their minds and souls properly equipped with the truth. Many will think it's at least a plausible version of history. And great damage will be done.

This is no time for any of us to breathe a sigh of relief at the movie's imperfections and think "Oh, good, nothing to worry about after all."