Pope’s preacher: Betrayal repeated by Judas Gospel, best-selling ‘Da Vinci Code’
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) – Judas’ betrayal of Jesus is being repeated today by editors and booksellers who are selling Christ for billions and seducing millions in the process, according to the papal preacher in a Good Friday sermon, April 14 in St. Peter’s Basilica here.
Pointing specifically to Dan Brown’s best-selling book and soon-to-be- movie The Da Vinci Code and the National Geographic Society’s recently published Gospel of Judas, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the pontifical household since 1980, told Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican curia officials, in the last of his series of 2006 Lenten reflections, that “pseudo-historical literature” crassly manipulates the faith of millions.
He said the two works are examples of “the itching for anything new,” which is “being realized in a new and impressive way in our days.”
While we celebrate here the memory of the passion and death of the savior, millions of people are seduced by the clever rewriting of ancient legends to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was never crucified,” the 71-year-old Capuchin priest said.
“There is much talk about Judas’ betrayal, without realizing that it is being repeated. Christ is being sold again, no longer to the leaders of the Sanhedrin for 30 denarii, but to editors and booksellers for billions of denarii,” he said.
“We cannot allow the silence of believers to be mistaken for embarrassment and that the good faith of millions of people be crassly manipulated by the media, with raising a cry of protest, not only in the name of the faith, but also of common sense and healthy reason.”
The National Geographic Society unveiled the first modern translation of the third-century Coptic translation of the Gospel of Judas on April 6 in Washington.
The text, which had originally been written in Greek before 180, portrays Judas as Jesus' closest disciple and says Jesus asked Judas to hand him over to the Roman authorities so that he could fulfill his mission. The so-called gospel had already been declared a heresy by the early church about two centuries after Christ died.
The Da Vinci Code centers on the supposition that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children.
The film version of the international murder mystery, starring Tom Hanks, is scheduled to be released next month.
“No one will succeed in halting this speculative wave, which instead will flare up with the imminent release of a certain film,” he said, noting that the “best seller” is an edition of the apocryphal of the Gospel of Thomas.
“The apocryphal gospels on which they lean are text that have always been known, in whole or in part, but with which which not even the most critical and hostile historians of Christianity even thought, before today, that history could be made,” Father Cantalamessa said.
He said the Gospel of Judas, The Da Vinci Code and other works like them each have “a common explanation: We are in the age of the media and the media are more interested in novelty than in truth.”
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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