My son attends a Catholic high school. Required summer reading is Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. He is very interested in the “historical facts” it contains. I read about the false “facts” in The Da Vinci Code and am concerned that his school selected this novel for the teens to read. Any advice?
Special note: For those with interest in reading Angels & Demons by Dan Brown, please be aware that for evaluation purposes a major spoiler is revealed. If you do not wish to know this plot point, please read the book before continuing to read this post.
In the furor over Brown’s later anti-Catholic novel, The DaVinci Code (click here for a special report on the book by Catholic Answers), not much attention has been paid to his earlier anti-Catholic effort, Angels & Demons.
Angels & Demons looks at the Church’s relationship with science, whereas The DaVinci Code focused on the Church’s relationship with art. Among other charges, Brown accused the Church of charging educated adversaries of the Church of “black-magic animal sacrifices” and “pentagram ritual,” which in turn invented modern satanism when those who believed the Church’s accusations began to act out the satanic rituals with which the Church charged its adversaries (p. 37, hardcover edition). Perhaps the most distasteful aspect of Angels & Demons is Brown’s invention of a fictitious pope who supports the sciences because, years before he was elected to the papacy, artificial insemination helped him and the nun he “loved” to conceive a child without breaking their vow to celibate chastity (pp. 541-545, hardcover edition).
In the course of this revelation, the cardinal who makes this known says he found out while he was “Devil’s Advocate,” in which Brown thinks someone is appointed to find reasons why a particular individual should not be pope (p. 542, hardcover edition). This is a basic error: the devil’s advocate was a position in which a person was appointed to find reasons why someone should not be canonized a saint.
I recommend talking to your son’s principal. Scan through the book, highlight disturbing passages, and explain why you do not believe that this is appropriate reading material for a Catholic high school student.