Author Topic: Da Vinci Code boosts Opus Dei  (Read 990 times)

Devious Viper
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Da Vinci Code boosts Opus Dei
« on: August 01, 2006, 03:21:29 am »
The controversial religious organisation lambasted in the blockbuster movie and book The Da Vinci Code has revealed that membership inquiries have soared in the past year. The film and book portray Opus Dei as a murderous and secretive cult within the Roman Catholic church. Despite this negative view, membership applications have increased tenfold.

The film, based on the book by Dan Brown and starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, centres on the controversial theory that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and that the two had a child. Opus Dei is portrayed as a ruthless suppressor of the truth, using any method - including murder - to protect the church. But Opus Dei's website insists their primary aim is to encourage spirituality in every area of members' lives.

Jack Valera, Opus Dei's UK spokesman, said: "We're getting 10 times more enquiries than we would normally get. Over the last few months, as the hype for the film has built up, we have had about 50 inquiries a month about membership. We would normally get about three or four a month. Some have mentioned the book or the film in their e-mails. It's quite surprising, and I believe it's down to the publicity surrounding the run-up to the film." Valera added: "I did go to see the film - that was not for pleasure but professionally. I watched it under sufferance. It was gruesome to us, much nastier than in the book, in my view. And again it was so boring, it was far too long, at least half an hour too much. After all the hype I expected something a bit better."

Claire McDonald, an Opus Dei member in Glasgow, said: "My husband and I went along to see because we thought: 'We're in Opus Dei; we might as well know what's in the film.' I thought we might be able to enjoy a thriller even if it was disparaging Opus Dei. But it was boring; it was even worse than Gladiator."

The generally poor reception the film has received from critics has meant that the Catholic Church in Scotland has decided that its media spokesman does not need to check out the movie for its top churchmen. The church's spokesman, Peter Kearney, said: "This was one of my tasks, to check out the film. But after seeing how critical the reviews have been, we've decided that I don't need to go now. It's obvious that critics don't think much of it."

Opus Dei, whose name means Work of God in Latin, was founded in 1928 by a Spanish priest named Josemaria Escriva. He wanted to extend the spiritual boost people receive from Sunday worship through the rest of the week. Although his ideas were initially frowned on by the church hierarchy, Catholic leaders later embraced the organisation and Escriva was made a saint in 2002.

A member of Opus Dei would be expected to go to Mass every day, and also read a portion of Scripture and of an uplifting religious book each day. In addition, a member should attend an evening meeting during the week for prayer and reflection and have a one-to-one spiritual chat with a more senior member of the organisation.

A spokeswoman for Sony, the distributors of the film, said: "We don't have a comment."