Da Vinci/Angel & Demons Catholic School Assignment


#1

Hello does anyone know the official stance of the Catholic Church on the "Da Vinci Code" and Angels & Demons? My daughter is going into 6th grade and has been asked to read these over the summer. Needless to say I am horrified since I wouldn't even read them and I am an Adult (but I have read excerpts and various reviews so I have a general idea). I don't understand how anyone can think it ok to have children, who are just forming their foundations in faith, read these books.

Thanks so much for taking time to read this post:)


#2

Say no to the school administrators. Call the diocesan office and complain. Do not stand for it and do not let your 6th grader read these books. Raise a big fuss.

PS. There is no official church stance on these books, but you can find plenty of well written and well research Catholic resources to back up you position.


#3

I’ve read both the aforementioned books. They are actually both a very good read. They are very suspenseful and well written. Of course, they are also blatantly anti-Catholic. I think it’s okay, and perhaps good, for Catholics to read them, as they can gain some knowledge of the alternative stories of history put forth by Dan Brown.

That having been said, I think its unwise to read them in sixth grade. I would advise against reading them until at least high school age.


#4

Most teachers should have an alternative assignment. I am surprised that this even got put forth. Maybe in the 10th grade in some of the "CINO" Catholic schools which have long since only paid 'lip service' to Catholic teachings, but 6th grade?

I would ask for my daughter to have an alternate assignment and I would want to know exactly what the lesson plan around these books was. Is it to point out the ERRORS of the books and to give instead the correct Catholic teaching? That would be good--but since this is a 'summer' reading, your poor child has to wait 2 months after reading that pathetic drivel to hear it denounced. Not good. If the teacher wanted to rebut the books they should be read at the beginning of the semester and IMMEDIATELY the first day the teaching should be squarely based on pointing out the books' errors.

But if this is the usual sort of "Pop Christianity' whereby the little angels are supposed to have 'open minds' and to be aware that the Church is not really all that great and St. Dan Brown is just pointing out exciting possibilities based on TRUTH. . .then you have a real problem. Something to bring up not only in front of the teacher but in front of the entire school board and even the diocese if necessary. You probably have a diocesean newspaper too, often with on-line versions. That can be used too.

I always used to be the 'good mother' who would, when faced with these kinds of situations, be told, "Trust us, we know best."

I learned. Now I'm the 'bad mother' who makes noise if I have to. I don't mind looking like a troublemaker. I always think, "If the world hates you, remember it hated Me first" --(thank you Jesus for those encouraging words). I don't have to win a popularity contest--I have to do my job as a parent and that means that if there is trouble, I will (politely but implacably) insist on TRUTH.

I'm tired of our children being used as guinea pigs by educators who should know better. I'm tired of having my authority as the person responsible for my child's education sabotaged by the people who should be helping me. Teachers are public SERVANTS. . . you wouldn't know it by the attitude of SOME of them (and God bless the many teachers who are trustworthy and who really TEACH our students instead of indoctrinate or misinform or 'break' them instead). Our children don't go to school to be 'jerked around' and to be thrown experimental garbage by these people. And especially in a Catholic school they are supposed to be learning AUTHENTIC CATHOLIC TEACHING.

And yes, I've read them. Heck, I've even read the whole "Left Behind" series (which a lot of people also found a 'good read'.) Depends on one's definition of good; (and please to whoever found them a good read, I am not picking on you). I happen to have read a lot of really outstanding literature in my life and therefore formulaic 'thrillers' just do not come across as a 'good read' to me. I think that it is a far, far better thing (points to you if you have read enough good literature to know the paraphrase WITHOUT GOOGLING) for children to be stretching their minds to really outstanding literature instead of 'sinking' to the merely 'popular'.


#5

[quote="Irsheyzs2, post:1, topic:201540"]
Hello does anyone know the official stance of the Catholic Church on the "Da Vinci Code" and Angels & Demons? My daughter is going into 6th grade and has been asked to read these over the summer. Needless to say I am horrified since I wouldn't even read them and I am an Adult (but I have read excerpts and various reviews so I have a general idea). I don't understand how anyone can think it ok to have children, who are just forming their foundations in faith, read these books.

Thanks so much for taking time to read this post:)

[/quote]

While the Church no longer forbids certain books, there have been many statements about the Dan Brown books and the movies. Check with your diocese to see if the Bishop or his office has made any statements. Back when TDVC movie was coming out, out diocese put out some strongly worded statements and even held workshops on refuting the errors in the book/movie.

The Vatican spoke out against A&D; even refusing to allow filming on Vatican property due to the anti-Catholic nature of the material.

While these aren't official condemnations, they should help you to defend against these books as required reading, especially for a sixth grader. Even without the anti-Catholicism, the graphic content would make them inappropriate for that age group, IMHO anyway.


#6

What is a school doing assigning Dan Brown books as summer reading? Ignore that they are anti-Catholic. While an exciting read, they aren't exactly classics or "deep" books. They read like movie scripts. What's next? Will they be assigned to watch "The A Team" as a study in 80's pop culture remakes? I forgot my summer reading assignments back in middle school, but I'm pretty sure they weren't works of pop culture. Are schools going to assign books by John Gresham, Michael Crighten, or Danielle Steele next?

And people wonder why so many teenagers can't assemble an intelligent thought.


#7

[quote="Irsheyzs2, post:1, topic:201540"]
Hello does anyone know the official stance of the Catholic Church on the "Da Vinci Code" and Angels & Demons? My daughter is going into 6th grade and has been asked to read these over the summer. Needless to say I am horrified since I wouldn't even read them and I am an Adult (but I have read excerpts and various reviews so I have a general idea). I don't understand how anyone can think it ok to have children, who are just forming their foundations in faith, read these books.

Thanks so much for taking time to read this post:)

[/quote]

You need to launch a formal complaint against this. I can appreciate the books are some random fiction, and like most fiction its largely anti-catholic. But for young children these books are entirely inapropiate.


#8

Unless they are going to follow up the reading with detailed lectures about why 90% of the books theories are total BS, I don't understand what value they have for a young person.

I loved reading them, but I am a grown person, well-Catechized, and I chuckled as I went along, thinking "Dan Brown, you are such a BSer!"

Complain to the principal first, she or he might not be aware.

We had an issue (in Catholic school) last summer with a 7th grade teacher handing out a "suggested summer reading list" that included Judy Blume's "Forever," which some of you may know is about a high school girl and her first sexual relationship with her boyfriend!!!:eek:

As soon as the principal got wind of this, it was OFF the list!!!! (THe principal had seen the list, but didn't know what the book was about - she saw Judy Blume and thought it was like a "Superfudge" or "Sheila the Great"!


#9

[quote="PrayHarder, post:6, topic:201540"]
What is a school doing assigning Dan Brown books as summer reading? Ignore that they are anti-Catholic. While an exciting read, they aren't exactly classics or "deep" books. They read like movie scripts. What's next? Will they be assigned to watch "The A Team" as a study in 80's pop culture remakes? I forgot my summer reading assignments back in middle school, but I'm pretty sure they weren't works of pop culture. Are schools going to assign books by John Gresham, Michael Crighten, or Danielle Steele next?

And people wonder why so many teenagers can't assemble an intelligent thought.

[/quote]

I totally agree. Not to mention that the violence in these books is way beyond what I would let my son (who will also be entering 6th grade) read at that age. No way...


#10

Why is any school, let alone a Catholic one, assigning such badly written books?

Beyond the fact that they are 'good mysteries' (and I'd argue that about DaVinci Code), the quality of the writing is bad and there is little character development. Throw in the anti-Catholic rhetoric and the 'so-called' facts, er, lies in DaVinci and no Catholic school should be assigning that to a grade 6 class. My goodness, these kids are 10 & 11. The violence level alone is enough to give kids nightmares!

No, I can see assigning DaVinci to a high school class to have them pick it apart for its inaccuracies but to a grade 6 class, no way. COMPLAIN.


#11

Yes. Why aren't these children being assigned The Hobbit, or the Chronicles of Narnia? They are just the right age for these as they are capable of reading both the text itself and reading INTO the text, etc. After all, at ages 10 to 12 you have some children reading 'under' grade and some reading 'over.' The under grades will not have any trouble with the above. The 'over' grades can go 'deeper' and be encouraged to go on to read The Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion, and then Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, or his space triology.


#12

I don't think those books are on the Index or anything, so I can't speak to the Church's official position, just my own after having studied children's literature at the Master's level. So much great literature exists for the 11/12-year-old group (you know, in the children's section of the library and bookstore).

The book goes against Church teaching. It has terrible writing, weak themes, and inappropriate graphic content - at point even sexual, if I recall, which I don't particularly want to). Generally I don't like banning books or systematic barring of access - parental is ok ;) - but I feel comfortable saying such material shouldn't be mandatory reading or even suggested.

Want to get a great reaction? First, go to the local bookstore and library and compare the summer reading list for your daughter's grade with those of public schools. Having been in the business and living in a very liberal town in very liberal New England, I am annually pleasantly surprised at the inoffensiveness of the public school's book choices, usually culled from Newbery Award winners in the childrens' sections and maaaaybe some early YA that avoid sex. If you find the same in your area, you ask the teacher, principal, and Archdiocese superintendent why they are the ones offering up smut to our children.

Call up the other parents. Call up your parish priest if the school is diocesan. In fact, message me the school's address, and I'll write letters on your behalf if they won't change their position.

If it's done purely from the misguided notion to make them aware of fallacies and heresies, there are much more appropriate and less confusing ways to teach that, IMHO.


#13

What strikes me as most shocking is that they actually assign summer reading. They certainly don't do that where I live. I just finished high school, so I definitely know.

Anyway, I've got some ideas; call whoever assigned it and say "it's not age appropriate" because it's something that meant for someone who is at least at the high school level.

Secondly, just read the plot from Wikipedia and read all the spoilers. Simple as that.


#14

As someone else mentioned, I am surprised a school would pick Dan Brown books as an academic reading assignment. I am a huge Dan Brown fan (he is an excellent FICTION writer), but his books are not classics by any means. Also, with the level of violence and some sexual innuendo and disturbing themes in them, I am surprised a Catholic school would assign them for 6th Graders.

Perhaps instead of raising a huge fuss immediately, why not contact the school administrator or teacher and ask why these books are being assigned. I could see understandable reasons they might be assigned--say if one of the subjects they will be studying is how the Catholic Church is often (erroneously) portrayed in popular culture or the importance of, when reading books that claim to be at some level factual or whatnot, being able to discern between fact and embellishment and half-truths. Or even examining the sort of 'hidden' Anti-Catholicism found in popular culture.

Anyway, just my two cents: contact the school and find out WHY they are assigning these books.

EDIT: By 'understandable', I do not necessarily mean it is acceptable. From a strictly secular standpoint (i.e. ignoring the inaccuracies portrayed about the Church), I'd stay it is highly questionable to have children that young reading this stuff due to the level of violence, disturbing scenes (i.e. most of the scenes dealing with Silas in DVC) and some sexual innuendo.


#15

Not for sixth graders.


#16

[quote="Irsheyzs2, post:1, topic:201540"]
Hello does anyone know the official stance of the Catholic Church on the "Da Vinci Code" and Angels & Demons? My daughter is going into 6th grade and has been asked to read these over the summer. Needless to say I am horrified since I wouldn't even read them and I am an Adult (but I have read excerpts and various reviews so I have a general idea). I don't understand how anyone can think it ok to have children, who are just forming their foundations in faith, read these books.

Thanks so much for taking time to read this post:)

[/quote]

There are scenes that involve brutal murder, sexual relations and violent acts. The book is far too mature for children in the 6th grade.

Da Vinci Code was a fun story to read, but Brown isn't a very strong writer. I wouldn't let my 6th grader read it. I'd say the summer going into grade 9 they'd be mature enough to handle it.


#17

:doh2: Why are they assigning this to 6th graders??? Dan Brown's books have so many errors in them. Why not have them read more challenging stuff? Maybe some of the classics? I used to work in a bookstore and I remember those wonderful summer reading lists. The public schools had the usual fare, mostly the classics, etc but the Catholic schools were all over the place :(.


#18

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