Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Da Vinci Code Boosts Opus Dei Numbers

I love this story! I’ll be smirking for the rest of the day. (From The Scotsman)

The controversial religious organisation lambasted in the blockbuster movie and book The Da Vinci Code has revealed that membership inquiries have soared in the past year.

The film and book portray
Opus Dei as a murderous and secretive cult within the Roman Catholic church. Despite this negative view, membership applications have increased tenfold.

[…] Opus Dei is portrayed as a ruthless suppressor of the truth, using any method - including murder - to protect the church. But Opus Dei's website insists their primary aim is to encourage spirituality in every area of members' lives.

Jack Valera, Opus Dei's UK spokesman, said: "We're getting 10 times more enquiries than we would normally get. Over the last two months, as the hype for the film has built up, we have had about 50 inquiries a month about membership. We would normally get about three or four a month.

"Some have mentioned the book or the film in their e-mails. It's quite surprising, and I believe it's down to the publicity surrounding the run-up to the film."

Valera added: "I did go to see the film - that was not for pleasure but professionally. I watched it under sufferance. It was gruesome to us, much nastier than in the book, in my view. And again it was so boring, it was far too long, at least half an hour too much. After all the hype I expected something a bit better."

Claire McDonald, an Opus Dei member in Glasgow, said: "My husband and I went along to see because we thought: 'We're in Opus Dei; we might as well know what's in the film.' I thought we might be able to enjoy a thriller even if it was disparaging Opus Dei. But it was boring; it was even worse than Gladiator."

[…] A spokeswoman for Sony, the distributors of the film, said: "We don't have a comment."

This is all so wonderful. I’d join up myself, except for the minor fact that I’m still not Catholic.

The only thing I’d worry about is that some of these new applicants might want to join because they think Opus Dei really is “a murderous and secretive cult within the Roman Catholic church.” Hopefully, they can run some kind of a background check.

On the other hand, murderous and secretive cults really do come in handy once in a while, and it can be really hard to find an albino killer monk when you need one. A few well-placed assassins could do wonders for the average state of the Catholic liturgy in this country. Perhaps Opus Dei would consider subcontracting a few to the Anglicans before the next Lambeth Conference?