Once upon a time, not so very long ago in the grand scheme of things, the Catholic Church believed the world to be flat. They believed that the world had been created mere thousands of years ago, in seven days, and that it was bang slap in the centre of the Universe because we were too important in the eyes of God to be anywhere else.
The Church has suffered under Popes in the Middle Ages whose spirituality was questionable, and whose excesses were manifold. The Inquisition is still a byword for ecclesiastic savagery and human depravity through the use of torture and the death of many innocents. The ravaging of the Holy Land during the Crusades, the attempts at ethnic cleansing in the name of God and the burning of "heretics" and "witches" are black scars in it's past that will be visible to the naked eye for millennia.
I must say that some in some instances they would have found support for their views in the scientific community. For example, Aristotle was against the view of heliocentrism, basing his argument on the lack of observable parallax shifts in the stars’ positions as the earth moved in its orbit around the sun. Centuries later modern equipment, and a better idea of how far away the stars are has changed that view, but when Aristotle stated his theories he did so from the perspective of science and threatened no ones health, physical or spiritual.
Don't get me wrong. This is not an attack on the Catholic Church. I have not done enough study in the matter to provide a cohesive argument either way. Also my wife is Catholic and I have a great deal of respect for both her, and for any modern clergy, regardless of sect, who now bear few if any of the less desirable traits of their Holy ancestors. The Catholic Churches recent apology for past sins and faults, although falling short, certainly shows that the modern view held by the Holy See is more forward thinking than say, the Australian Government who refuse to apologise to the stolen generation of indigenous Australians.
No. My point, or perhaps query is this. The Church has weathered many storms over the centuries. It has eaten humble pie admitting that previously strongly held beliefs are at least apocryphal, and at worst laughably ridiculous. But they have remained a dominant religious power through it all and look as if they will carry on along that path. People believe the core message of Jesus even if they have found the Church to be wanting in other areas. It would take a huge shift in the perception of the faithful based on irrefutable information which I think would have to come from one or more members of the Holy Trinity before a paradoxical shift of any significance took place.
So why are there crowds of protesters outside cinemas showing the Da Vinci Code? Why have the Church generated so much publicity for a book that even reasonably small amounts of research can basically discredit, at least insofar as the priory of Sion is concerned? Even the authors of Holy Blood Holy Grail now believe that the list of Grand Masters was pure invention, and they were a major catalyst for the whole idea. And if the tantalising idea of a birth line from Christ, (which I personally believe to be eminently possible, though not from any evidence supplied by Dan Brown), is taken as gospel, if you will pardon the pun, by some directly from the content of the book without any further research, I would suggest that those people are the least likely to be a danger to the Church. And for those who do delve deeper and learn a bit of history and theology, ask some questions about faith and belief systems, I think the protesters should thank the author simply for opening up debate and discussion; bringing the modern Church into focus in ways that it may never have been rather than becoming placard waving public nuisances.
It's just a movie after all.