Monday, April 26, 2004


The new king of pop culture...indeed.

"Now it's Jesus. He walks on water, is faster than a speeding bullet and flies. He's our superhero."

Gary Stern, of the NYJournalNews, also covers the phenomenon, focusing on The Passion, the "Left Behind" series, and The DaVinci Code:

In the film "The Passion of the Christ," which has grossed more than $360 million, he is the Jesus of traditionalist Roman Catholic Passion plays, beaten and bloodied as he endures the Stations of the Cross.

In "Glorious Appearing," the final book of the "Left Behind" series, which made its debut last month as the nation's best-selling novel, he is the Jesus of the fundamentalist rapture, riding from heaven on a white horse to vanquish the armies of the Antichrist.

In "The Da Vinci Code," a literary phenomenon that has sold some 7 million copies, Jesus doesn't appear at all. But readers learn that he was mortal, married, a dad and a feminist, and that the Catholic Church concocted his divinity.

For Joyce Donahue, an education official with the Catholic Diocese of Joliet, Ill., who wrote a debunking of the "Left Behind" series that is being used nationally by Catholic bishops, the success of the three projects is the result of Catholics and others not knowing what to believe.

"Let's face it, the culture is substituting for us because we haven't done our jobs," Donahue said. "People can't tell the truth from fiction. Catholics might believe 'Left Behind' because they haven't been taught how to interpret Scripture. People say 'The Passion' is exactly as it happened even though it puts words in Jesus' mouth and Pontius Pilate's mouth that aren't in the Gospels. Our Catholic-light education has turned out people who don't understand their faith."


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