Da Vinci Code Mania! Just got this release.
As the media hype reaches a boiling point over the release this Friday of a new motion picture including inflammatory claims about Jesus Christ, most American Catholics do not believe the basic premise of the film or the book on which it is based, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International/Contemporary Catholic Trends telephone survey shows.
The survey of Catholics nationwide also found that the movie The Da Vinci Code will drive more Catholics than not to the scriptures. A plurality -- 42% -- said that after hearing about the book and movie, they intend to seek truth by studying the Bible more closely.
The movie is based on a novel by Dan Brown. According to news reports, its plot revolves around a conspiracy by the Roman Catholic Church to cover up the "true" story of Jesus. The book claims the Vatican supposedly knows it is living a lie concerning Jesus, but it does so to maintain its influence. The book also speaks to a church-led conspiracy to suppress Christ's alleged marriage to Mary Magdalene, and his fathering of a royal bloodline with her. The book contends she is the real Holy Grail because she carries the "blood" of Jesus within her, whom Leonardo da Vinci worked into his art. Critics of the novel and movie describe the plot as inaccurate and sacrilegious.
The survey shows that two-thirds of Catholics who were familiar with The Da Vinci Code storyline did not believe that the leaders of the Catholic church understand the truth as portrayed in the film but are suppressing it. Just 12% said they believe the book over their church leaders. More than one in five - 21% - said they are unsure about the claims in the book.
Women were less certain of their church leaders than men. While 78% of men said they do not believe church leaders are suppressing the "truth" as portrayed in the film, just 58% of women agreed. One in four women said they were unsure about the suppression of information about Jesus by church leaders.
There was little difference of opinion on the topic between those who had been raised Catholic and those who had converted to the faith.
Asked whether recent reports about the book or movie would affect their personal efforts to seek truth through studying the Bible, 42% of Catholics said it would make them more likely to do so, while 18% said the reports would make them less likely to do so. One-third of respondents said the media reports would have neither effect on their pursuit of truth.
The survey was conducted May 2-10 of 1,049 Catholics nationwide, and carries a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.