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My 15 year old daughter got a copy of The DaVinci Code from someone for Christmas. (I refuse to spend money on trash). This evening, as we were driving back from Logan Airport (in and of itself a nightmare experience) she started asking questions - hard ones. My husband, 21 y/o daughter, and myself were also in the car, and we took turns trying to field the questions, but I would really appreciate your prayers as well.
I have read Sandra Miesel's articles which critique the book, and it gave me a little insight into the issues, but it really is hard. I am coming to realize that this book is insidious (sp?) in what it does.
A basic question that teenage daughter kept asking is "But how do you KNOW?" about issues like Jesus being a virgin celibate, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the validity of the canon of the Bible (especially the New Testament). I have tried to explain the validity of Sacred Tradition, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and so on. I don't know if she 'gets it'. I am trying to think of readable books that talk about the historical truth of the early church - any suggestions? I am thinking of By What Authority by Mark Shea, and I have some books on the early church fathers - but these books don't have the readability of fiction. Can anyone suggest novels or similar books that have the background assumptions of a Catholic culture?
I have lots of non-fiction that I love to read, as well as biography and devotionals, but I don't think that will do it for us. I also have Matt Pinto's book Did Adam and Eve have Belly Buttons which is good but not applicable to this. She is asking good questions, and I am a reasonable apologist I think, but this is getting tough.


This is a stretch, because it's been so long since I read it, and it isn't fiction . . . but it may be a good resource: Michael Novak's "Tell Me Why: A Father Answers His Daughter's Questions About God" -- a dialogue between Michael and his teenage daughter, Jenna, posing the difficult questions that teens often do, particularly about Catholicism. Also, Karl Keating's "Catholic Answers" (http://www.catholic.com/) and Envoy Magazine are both good informative sources, the latter oriented toward a younger audience (late teens, early twenties?) but with good apologetic content. Sandra Meisel also co-authored their review of the Da Vinci Code that listed recommended follow-up links at the end of the article: http://www.envoymagazine.com/planetenvoy/Review-DaVinci-Part1.htm

I'm reminded of a somewhat silly, but thought provoking conversation from my freshman year at Bishop Brady... one of the students from my theology class brought up the question, "Well... how do you KNOW?" To which, my theology teacher responded, "Well, China exists doesn't it?" Looks shot around the room, and people nodded. Yes, China exists. "Has anyone ever been to China in here?"A chorus of confused no's followed. "Then how do you know that China exists? You were probably told somewhere along the line and didn't dispute that truth." I can see how someone might find some weaknesses in the arguement that believing in God is kinda like believing China exists even though you've never been there.... but I thought it was kind of a cute responce.

I read "The Da Vinci Code" on the plane yesterday and it was interesting, despite being really heretical. Brown doesn't speak too highly of the Church for supressing those who are into the Gnostic Gospels and I can see how it would be damaging to the faith of those who are just learning of their existence.

Something you might want to emphasize with your daughter is that the book is a work of fiction. The only things that Brown actually affirms as being true are the existence of the Priory of Sion (they've found parchment that validates its existence) and that Opus Dei exists. The Priory's secrets are pretty well hidden and the assertion of Mary Magdalene having power are mostly from the Gnostic Gospels which were deemed heretical by the Church because they spoke of Jesus as a mere mortal. Brown uses the symbols pretty accurately but he uses them as a means of creating and cracking a code -- not quite as they were intended to be used.

As far as how you knowyou know,Hebrews 11:1 is a pretty good start.

Try Amy Welborn's "Prove It" series. I bought all of those books for Christmas presents and I read the "Prove It- Church" one. It's funny, an enjoyable read, and great at explaining this stuff in a sensible fashion. Highly recommended!!!

Elena - mom of 6

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on December 27, 2003 10:17 PM.

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