VATICAN CITY, MAY 25 Pope Benedict XVI today issued a "monitum," described by a Vatican official as "an admonition, guidance for the faithful," detailing how Roman Catholics can watch the hit film The DaVinci Code while minimizing their exposure to a potential "occasion of sin."
The Pope explained that the document was being issued since, as he put it, "It is clear we can't keep our people away from this movie. Every time a Catholic prelate has spoken out against the book, instructing Catholics not to read it, sales skyrocketed. We don't want that with the film, so rather than telling Catholics not to see it, we feel this admonition is the next best thing."
The document points out that the film depicts Jesus as involved in a "potentially disvirginal" relationship with Mary Magdalen.
Catholics, it says, may consider the possibility that such a relationship could hypothetically lead to "behaviors tangentially associated with the sublime and holy state of matrimony." But the faithful "must keep uppermost in mind" that such activity would have occured "without the slightest occasioning of concupiscence, pleasure or enjoyment, and not motivated by any disordered tendency of fallen human nature, but solely and exclusively for purposes of procreation."
The pope acknowledged that this statement is a "real mouthful, even in that purest of theological languages, Latin." So he urged Catholics to memorize it before seeing the film, " perhaps by reciting it as an addendum to the creed, or as part of their regular bedtime prayer." Repeating it while viewing the film is strongly suggested, he said.
Asked how he could be certain that the 'hypothetical behavior' contemplated in the admonition would have been as pure and passionless as described, the Pope replied, "Because according to the teaching of Holy Mother Church this is the way people are supposed to behave. Jesus is the Founder of that Church; Mary Magdalene is one of her earliest, most glorious saints. So it is clearly an impossibility that they could act out of accord with Church teaching, even in advance."
The Pope concluded his remarks by saying, "If Catholics keep their minds on these succinct guidelines, and their hands to themselves, they can watch DaVinci Code without further endangering their immortal souls "already so blighted and blemished by the blasphemies of our benighted age."