Friday, May 19, 2006

Going to see the Da Vinci Code in Poland?

Then you will be committing ‘a sin’, apparently.

The world’s film critics have been especially brutal to the movie version of the bestselling novel by Dan Brown, which opens in cinemas this weekend in Poland.

But the Polish Catholic church, perhaps more predictably, is not too keen on the movie either.

Archbishop Stanisław Dziwisz, long-time personal secretary of Pope John Paul II, has said that the film presents a ‘distorted picture’ of the Catholic Church. ‘Its hidden objective is to convince viewers that Christianity is a religion of contradictions, secrets and lies,’ he says.

One Polish bishop, Wiktor Skworc of Tarnow in the south of the country, has said that those who go to see the film will be ‘committing a sin’.

The Church is calling for a boycott of the movie in protest.

Opus Dei in Poland

Apart from Jesus marrying a prostitute and having kids, the book and film features the slightly obscure world of Opus Dei, a kind of club for the rich and powerful within the Catholic Church.

There are rumored to be around 300 members of the secretive organization in Poland out of a worldwide membership of 85,000.

Members of Opus Dei are within the present Polish government. The hapless ex-finance minister, Teresa Lubinska, who lasted only a few weeks in the post, is a member. Jerzy Polaczek, the minister of infrastructure, is another. And so, say many, is Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz.

If this is so, then what do these cabinet ministers get up to during meetings?

Well, one of the practices of the Opus Dei’ers is known as corporal mortification. Some don’t eat for a few days; others pay penance by wearing around their thigh a small metal band with spikes on the inside (?). Others go further still and beat themselves on the back and buttocks with small whips (??).

Kinky devils!

Is this why every freakish politician in Poland is trying to get into government at the moment?


SarahJane said...

like your blog. i work in news too & all the past few days just watched the headlines go by about which country has been hit by the controversy - Greece, Thailand, Indonesia, etc etc and Poland, too. Actually I don't give too much of a shit about it but it's ridiculous to say seeing the movie is a sin. And not that I think the Da Vinci Code is a great way to expose yourself to "the world of ideas," but when the Church says seeing it is a sin, the Church reveals its fear of them.

roman said...

Secular minded folks will not (and should not)give much credence to the "sin" threat. The concept of "sinning" will likely only persuade devout church-going Christians to boycott the movie. The bishop of Tarnow's remarks are totally appropriate and necessary. Any priest or member of the clergy who does not warn their "flocks" to shun this movie is guilty of deriliction of duty.

sonia said...

No so fast fast, Roman

Watching a movie (or anything else for that matter) cannot be a sin. A sin must involve either the breaking of one of the commandments (either Church's or of the of the 10) or an action that harms somebody. It's one thing to tell people that a movie is factually wrong, bad or even immoral. But telling people that by watching it they will be commiting a sin is very wrong. Bishop Skworc should be ashamed of himself.


Trying to imagine the prim and proper Teresa Lubinska beating herself with small whip on her naked buttocks is... well...

beatroot said...

It's probably how she got the sack - over the top of the Prime Minister's desk: 'You bad, bad finance minister!'

Welcome Sarahj!

I agree with Sonia and Sarahj. Calling something I do 'sinful' is meaningless, because I don't believe in sin. But to someone who does, it's a big thing. So some priest threatening people with the 'sin' word is nasty. It's the equivalant of being mugged by your priest.

It's treating people like children...and we can't just blame the church for doing that.

Frank Partisan said...

I admit I'm a member of Opus Dei.

michael farris said...

"I admit I'm a member of Opus Dei."

The first rule of Opus Dei is - you do not talk about Opus Dei.
The second rule of Opus Dei is - you DO NOT talk about Opus Dei.

jams o donnell said...

It is not just the Polish Government. We of course have Ruth Kelly who is a member of Opus Nazi.. err Dei

michael farris said...

As could be predicted, the warnings are not having the desired effect. Local papers report that lots of screenings this weekend are already sold out.

In general, authority figures talking something down just makes people more curious, double so in Poland.

And since according to most people the movie is just not very good, it would probably have disappeared pretty quickly.

roman said...


Not being very religious myself, I can't say with any certainty what constitutes a sin. I go by what's basically good or bad behavior.
What I do know for sure is that by viewing this movie and being told that Jesus Christ was married and fathered children, his "divinity" is stripped away. His divinity is the very underpinning of the Christian faith. So, you see, there is an insidious message being conveyed whether on purpose or not. The clergy see this as just another assault on the very foundation of Christianity.
For most of us this may be an amusing and entertaining movie (although early critical acclaim say it's boring) but to many of the faithful, it is one more little shove towards "doubt". Anything that casts doubt on the very existence of Christ, AKA God, as divine must, IMHO, be some kind of a sin.

Anonymous said...

Father Ted beat Dziwisz & Co. to the draw years ago:

"Down With this Sort of Thing"

sonia said...


I can't say with any certainty what constitutes a sin
I can. It must be something forbidden in the Bible or in the church commandments. "Thou shalt not kill" is there. "Watching a movie" isn't.

his "divinity" is stripped away.
No, it isn't. Read my take on it here. Also read John 19,25, Mark 15,40 and Matthew 27,56. What is the ONLY name that appears in all three texts ? Why ?

Agnes said...

If I go and watch it, will that be mortal sin or venial?

William Zeranski said...

IT’S JUST A MOVIE! And Opus Dei is NOT secretive! It’s a lay Catholic Organization! It’s got its own webpage and everything! What is the matter with people?! The book is FICTION . . . and not really that well written. The book is full of Gnostic crapola!

This overreaction must be because people are bored. The people are bored, the Church authorities are bored. Everyone is just bored. That’s got to be it.

My priest--a Catholic priest--read the book. He likes the mystery. He’s looking forward to the film also. He said one very important thing: ‘Those of faith will be unaffected.’

Come on people: IT’S FICTION!

Anonymous said...

Why must everyone make such a large problem out of such a small one. The good Catholics will confess if they saw the movie, and the ones who are afraid of their other sins, will of course not go. Then what is the problem? What does your coinscience say?

Anonymous said...

Why must everyone make such a large problem out of such a small one. The good Catholics will confess if they saw the movie, and the ones who are afraid of their other sins, will of course not go. Then what is the problem? What does your coinscience say?

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