'Angels and Demons': Just the Facts, Please!
The Illuminati were formed in 1776 by a lawyer over a century after the deaths of Renaissance artist Bernini and astronomer Galileo whom Brown claims were members.
One can only hope that the increased tourism to Rome, which this film will create, may give people an opportunity to learn the truth from the Vatican itself.
He seems reasonable, and, for the typical moviegoer, nothing about “Angels and Demons” will seem offensive. In the story, Robert Langdon protects the Church from The Illuminati, those artists and scientists whom the Church has persecuted for centuries, who are out to seek vengeance on the College of Cardinals as they participate in the Conclave in the Sistine Chapel. What could be wrong, after all, its common knowledge that the Catholic Church repressed science and art implies Howard.
In fact the major premise of the plot, that the Church persecuted artists and scientists for centuries, is fiction, yet Ron Howard, in documentary about the film, presents it as fact. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Bill Donohue on “The World Over” gave the audience a history lesson.
The Illuminati were formed in 1776 by a lawyer, and lasted until 1787, over a century after the deaths of Renaissance artist Bernini and astronomer Galileo, whom Brown claims were members of the organization. Dr Donohue’s second point is that Bernini and many other artists found the Church to be their major patrons; note that the vast majority of Renaissance art is religious in nature.
Dr. Donohue is correct, the arts and sciences have always been embraced by the Catholic Church. Bernini designed the famous colonnade of St Peter’s Square; in a major contract with the Vatican; hardly a hostile relationship. Galileo was never jailed or tortured by the Pope, nor is the Church anti-Astronomy. According to Donohue, Jesuits are responsible for great advances in astronomy. Science and art made their greatest strides in Christendom, when compared to any other part of the world, precisely because of the Church’s support of learning and her preservation of learning in the European University System.
Today the Pontifical Academy of Science informs the world of the latest advances in science. Hardly the repressive evil history vividly portrayed by Brown and Howard.
The saddest part of this debated is that few Catholics will know this. Most Catholics are taught revisionist history in school, focusing on every world culture but that of Europe, and when they do study European history, their education consists of the Crusades, the Inquisition and the Reformation to scourge the Catholic Church over and over again, whether the criticisms are true or not.
In fact, Ron Howard darkly hints at that in his rebuttal of Bill Donohue. ”It would be a lie if we had ever suggested our movie is anything other than a work of fiction (if it was a documentary, our talks of massacres would have referenced the Inquisition or the Crusades). “
The mainstream reviewers are obviously products of such revisionist history; Simon and Schuster said, “Angels and Demons careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between religion and science turns to war.” Book Browse said, ‘an insightful and lucid examination of the ever present dichotomy of religion and science”
These reviewers should do their homework before making statements about the incompatibility of religion and science, but I doubt they would listen to the truth. It does not interest them as much as rejoicing in the latest successful attack on the Catholic Church the most vocal defender of traditional morality in this nation.
Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable bigotry of the liberal elite, who are always ready to reinforce their preconceived notions. It may be too late to change their minds, yet the corruption of poorly informed Catholics is the most compelling reason to avoid giving publicity to “Angels and Demons”. Nearly every comment on the YouTube film trailer showed that the ‘fiction’ of this film is accepted by viewers as fact. In the same way that millions were confused by the ‘facts’ of the “Da Vinci Code” despite numerous rebuttals. One can only hope that the increased tourism to Rome, which this film will create, may give people an opportunity to learn the truth from the Vatican itself.
Leticia Velasquez is the mother of three, and a freelance writer and blogmaster who writes for several publications concerning the arts, life, faith, family and culture. She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.
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