May. 7th, 2006

rfmcdonald: (Default)
Reuters reports that at least one prominent figure in the Roman Catholic Church has issued a statement perilously close to fatwa territory thanks to The Da Vinci Code.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Nigerian who was considered a candidate for pope last year, made his strong comments in a documentary called "The Da Vinci Code-A Masterful Deception."

Arinze's appeal came some 10 days after another Vatican cardinal called for a boycott of the film. Both cardinals asserted that other religions would never stand for offences against their beliefs and that Christians should get tough.

"Christians must not just sit back and say it is enough for us to forgive and to forget," Arinze said in the documentary made by Rome film maker Mario Biasetti for Rome Reports, a Catholic film agency specializing in religious affairs.

"Sometimes it is our duty to do something practical. So it is not I who will tell all Christians what to do but some know legal means which can be taken in order to get the other person to respect the rights of others," Arinze said.

"This is one of the fundamental human rights: that we should be respected, our religious beliefs respected, and our founder Jesus Christ respected," he said, without elaborating on what legal means he had in mind.

[. . .]

"Those who blaspheme Christ and get away with it are exploiting the Christian readiness to forgive and to love even those who insult us. There are some other religions which if you insult their founder they will not be just talking. They will make it painfully clear to you," Arinze said.

This appeared to be a reference to protests by Muslims around the world over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

The Da Vinci Code is a silly book, but people who want to use the coercive power of the state to prevent its circulation and to punish its proponents are dangerous people. The one should be ignored, if a response at all is needed; the others should be slapped down immediately.

In the meantime, might I point out that the hypocrisy of Arinze, given his claimed support for inter-religious dialogue, is breathtaking? I hope for the sake of my Catholic friends that he never becomes Pope.
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