WASHINGTON (March 10, 2006)—The U.S. Bishops' Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) launched a new Internet Web site yesterday that presents authentic Catholic teaching about Jesus and the origins of Christianity and corrects misinformation that appears in current popular media.
www.Jesusdecoded.com features articles and commentary from a distinguished roster of contributors, including Amy Welborn, author of the best-selling "De-Coding Da Vinci," and Capuchin Franciscan Father Thomas G. Weinandy a leading Catholic scholar and prolific writer who currently serves as Director of the USCCB Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices.
The Prelature of Opus Dei has also contributed several articles to the Web site including one titled "What's Wrong with The Da Vinci Code," written by Father John Wauck, an American priest of Opus Dei who teaches at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.
The art of Leonardo is covered by Elizabeth Lev, an American-born art historian who teaches Renaissance and Baroque art at Duquesne University's Italian campus. Dr. Alan Schreck, a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, contributed an article on the first four universal councils of the Church.
John Thavis, Catholic News Service's Rome bureau chief, comments on how The Da Vinci Code phenomenon has been received at the Vatican and the USCCB Film & Broadcasting staff weighs in on the movie's chances of achieving "blockbuster" status.
According to CCC Director of Distribution Patricia Ryan Garcia, who is managing the project, the Web site will be updated frequently.
"We will be adding new content at least once a week," says Garcia, "and we will continue to update the Web site as long as the public interest sustains it."
"We intend Jesusdecoded.com to be a progressive resource that will evolve to meet user needs as they arise," Garcia adds.
The content on www.jesusdecoded.com is organized under six sections. The "Catholic Church" section covers the teachings of the Church and information on the early centuries of Christianity. "Truth be Told" features responses to The Da Vinci Code phenomenon from Catholic experts. "The Buzz" looks at how the phenomenon is impacting the entertainment industry in the United States and Europe. The "TV Special" folder has information for the public and the media on the Jesus Decoded documentary that will debut in May. "Leonardo & Art" provides observations and analysis of Leonardo's Last Supper and his other books that figure in the plot of The Da Vinci Code. The "Question Box" includes a form for submitting questions and comments about the Web site and will eventually include answers to the those questions.
Additional resources linked to www.Jesusdecoded.com include an hour-long TV documentary and a 16-page booklet on The Authentic Jesus. USCCB Publishing will offer The Authentic Jesus for individual and bulk sale, a DVD version of the documentary and a parish bulletin insert based on the same material. USCCB Publishing can be contacted at 1-800-235-8722. Updates and other information on these resources will be also be provided on the Web site.
The Catholic Communication Campaign is an activity of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that develops media programming, public service announcements, and other resources to promote Gospel values. Donations of Catholic parishioners make possible the work of the CCC. For more information, visit www.usccb.org/ccc.