Nuns picket Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral, one of the settings of the upcoming film version of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, was the scene of furious nun protests yesterday when it was visited by Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen and director Ron Howard.

The Dean of Lincoln believes the book to be “tosh”, but was persuaded to allow filming at the cathedral when producers offered drop a cool £100,000 into the collection box.

One of the raging nuns, Sister Mary Michael, 61, said:

I just don’t think it is right that they are filming this story here. I know the bishop and dean argue it is fiction – and it might even be brilliant fiction – but it is against the very essence of what we believe.

Yes, and…?

(From The Telegraph. Thanks to Tom P.)

UPDATE: According to the BBC, there was only one nun – Sister Mary Michael. She knelt outside the building for 12 hours in protest. More words from the seething sister:

It matters to me what God thinks, not what the film crew think.

When I face almighty God at my final judgement, as we all will, I can say I did try my best. I did try my best to protest.

As we suspected – she’s just making sure her own arse isn’t fried come the Final Judgement. Typical.

28 Responses to “Nuns picket Lincoln Cathedral”

  1. Dan Factor says:

    It may be against what they believe but that doesn’t mean it should be prevented from being made or shown.

  2. Marc says:

    Sounds like the same sort of thing as the last pope did on the run up to the milennium. Hypocrites.

  3. Olly says:

    I read this story in The Times today and – surprise, surprise – the nun who was protesting admitted that she hadn’t read the book. I don’t know how anyone can claim to have any authority on a subject when they don’t have any first-hand experience of it.

    Amusingly one of the letters in the same paper was from someone saying that the worry that people will assume that The Da Vinci Code must have some truth to it since it’s so popular is exactly how he, as an atheist, feels about various holy books.

  4. Mark says:

    The nun in question was shown on Channel 4, saying that the reason for her protest was that the cathedral was depicting something that wasn’t true. So why should today be any different?

    (The report went on to ridicule people who had made pilgrimages to Lincoln to see Tom Hanks, so it was doubly entertaining.)

  5. tom p says:

    I should make it clear that I don’t read the Torygraph and that I heard about the story on Today.

    In today’s Guardian the nun was quoted as saying that the cathedral had committed the sin of Simony, namely conducting financial transactions involving spiritual goods. Surely that’s what pardoners were doing for centuries, anyway.

  6. Christopher Shell says:

    Hi Tom-
    Arent you confusing morals with mores? The issue is whether it’s a good thing to do, not whether it has happened before. In any case, no-one is unaware that it has happened before. It’s not as though everything that has ever happened is justifiable by virtue of ever having happened. (Never mind – Im sure you were speaking humorously.)
    Far be it from me to accuse you of ever reading the Telegraph. You had better call a press conference to put the record straight about this highly serious matter. Correction: you’d better not – the Telegraph might turn up.

    Dan misses the point: it’s one thing to offend Christians (and sometimes they need to be offended – if they are sticking up for wrong things) but quite another to offend all proper historians. Unless anyone can wheel out a historian who believes the Da Vinci Code’s claims have any historical seriousness. Ppl say it’s fiction, and it is – but the author believes in his claims, and makes clear that a lot of what he speaks about is (supposedly) founded on fact.

  7. tom p says:

    Sarky get.
    I only mentioned that I didn’t pass the story on via the torygraph ‘cos it reads as though i did on the entry.

    I was unaware of the sin of simony before reading about it in yesterdays paper. Indeed, if I’d previously been asked what it was, I’d’ve hazarded a guess that it was invented by enraged fans of Art Garfunkel, or zealous anti-apartheid campaigners who didn’t like him recording in South Africa for the Gracelands album.

    Churches have been committing this ‘sin’ for thousands of years, so it’s a bit rich for her to start complaining about it now was my point. All it is is hucksterism, conning cash from gullible fools who believe that a little financial donation now will secure them a better position in the afterlife. It’s the very foundation of christianity, what with all theat ‘easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of heaven’ bollocks.
    You ask whether it’s the right thing to do – and architecturally and economically it certainly is. Lincoln cathedral is beautiful, and it makes the drive past Lincoln much more enjoyable, as well as visits to Lincoln worthwhile. Were it not there, far fewer people would visit and thus the economy of Lincoln and the surrounding county would be considerably depressed (more so than at present). Therefore, if 100 grand can be taken from hollywood and given to help preserve this building, I think you’ll have to agree that it is clearly the right thing to do.

    In your point to Dan, you’re parrotting the Catholic line that Brown’s opus tedium is fiction as (implicitly) opposed to the christian myth. Even if it is fiction (and a tedious load of twaddle to boot), so what. As I understand it, Brown is only making claims that his research is valid, and things such as paintings and chapels are where he says they are. The rest of it, the thriller part, is said to be fiction. I can understand why the church would be concerned about gullible people falling for this and believing it’s real, it’s the same thing they’ve been preying on for 2,000 years.

  8. Christopher Shell says:

    Methinks he is being unnecessarily provocative in (a) mixing fact and fiction so randomly, and (b) not making clear where the lines of demarcation are.
    If the factual material congregates round the art and architecture, how is it that places like the Louvre and Westminster Abbey have been at the forefront of rebutting his pseudo-scholarship? Research is just what it isn’t, nor is he qualified in the relevant fields.
    Far from the impression you gave, the author believes his own (or his characters’) historical claims, and has said as much. Doesnt it strike you as significant that he ‘chooses’ the particular ‘version’ of Christian origins that he does choose, as opposed to any other? Not that he is in a position to have a view on the matter.
    Im very fond of Lincoln too – used to use it as a holiday hideaway.

  9. Joe says:

    …nor is he qualified in the relevant fields.

    Are you? I thought your doctorate was to do with ecstatic states, which sounds to me like neurology, neuropsychology or neurochemistry; this would suggest that he’s every bit as qualified to have an opinion on this as your are to have an opinion on matters of ethics, or come to that, faith.

  10. tom p says:

    Nothing about Dan Brown or his tedious little oeuvre strikes me as significant.
    All he’s done is a reimagining of a story. Much like Rozencratz & Guilderstern are dead, or Superman: Red Son.

    Some gullible fools believe this story, and some seem to and have even gone so far as to visit a number of the sites mentioned in the book. But am I talking about the bible or the da vinci code here? It’s all obvious fiction, whichever one’s talking about.

    Joe – I think christopher’s thesis was on ecstasy in the nu testament, and as such it was probably a bible analysis, rather than neurology.

  11. Christopher Shell says:

    He hasnt reimagined it. He has taken his ideas from ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln (none of whom are qualified in the field), and far from considering their thesis as fiction, is treating it as essentially factual.

  12. tom p says:

    Even so, the whole premise that you believe in is essentially a fiction, therefore an author is entitled to take the myth (son of god, born as man thanks to holy spirit raping a virgin, son of god later crucified then resurrected thanks to his magical holy superpowers) and run with it in a different direction. It’s no less likely than the jesus as a bearded paul daniels (water into wine, feeding the five thousand &c) nonsense that fills the bible

  13. Christopher Shell says:

    The mistake here is to classify the entirety of the gospel accounts as ‘myth’. For most of the material there are more accurate classifications.
    The parts of the material which DB is most interested in include Jesus’s relationship to Mary Magdalene.
    Here we have two historical ppl who had a historical relationship, of whatever sort – presumably: master/disciple. Myth doesn’t come into it.

  14. tom p says:

    I was quite clearly talking about the supernatural bits that suggest jesus was the son of god and did magical things as myth.
    Anyway, even if jesus and mary magdalene did exist, what’s wrong with historical fiction/ I don’t hear christians railing against Shakespeare’s Julius Ceaser, or even against contemporary books that imagine relationships of major historical figures

  15. Christopher Shell says:

    Nothing is wrong with historical fiction. Everything is wrong with an historical fiction that just so happens (coincidence?) to correspond in detail to a preferred ideological reconstruction which already exists, and which people not trained in the discipline may not be able to see through.

  16. tom p says:

    A ‘preferred idological reconstruction’?

    Preferred by whom? Whose ideology is this? Why is their ideology beter than yours? Both of them are clearly nonsensical, since they rely on some kind of supernatural powers for a carpenter’s son to come back to life after being crucified. Your position is inherently intellectually corrupted by your insistence that the magical fantasy of the new testament is historical fact and must be defended at all costs

  17. tom p says:

    Oops – I should’ve typed “why is their ideology worse than yours?”

  18. Christopher Shell says:

    That would be true if I were just your run of the mill Christian. Naturally my position will be more subtle (and – hopefully, after all these years – more educated) than that. In particular, it will assign relative probability / improbability, not certainty, to most events and sayings. Which is, of course, one of the things that distinguishes ideology from scholarship.
    If there is any implication that there are only 2 possible stances, then of course everyone knows that is not true.

  19. tom p says:

    You still haven’t said who ‘prefers’ this ‘ideological’ reconstruction. And why this ideology is worse than yours (or worse, even, than less researched christianity).

    Also, you’ve made it plain that you believe in the resurrection, which is clearly magical fantasy. I think, by definition, that there are realy 3 stances – believe in jeebus’ super magic fun power; don’t; not sure. You may attempt to couch your belief in magic in pseudointellectual terminology, but that doesn’t mean it’s not from that same basic stance.

    Of course, you’re not the only christian who objects to this book, you are, after all, on the same side as a bunch of halfwits who believe that because a paedophile has muttered a few words of latin over a biscuit it literally becomes the body of christ

  20. Christopher Shell says:

    I believe that? I thought that was only the Catholics, on the basis of Aristotelian philosophy.
    I think modern western liberals, especially some Americans, prefer this version of things. It gives them carte blanche to avoid the claims of Christ, to domesticate him, and to make him in their own image. The reason for the popularity of this version is that it perfectly crystallises what some ppl want to believe. Never mind that there is no contemporary evidence for lady friends or babies.
    I mentioned earlier that the resurrection is something no-one knows for sure about. That is why the name of the game is the weighing of probabilities, something we were trying to do in an earlier post.
    What I would compare it with is Hollywood making a film out of a classic book. If there is no love interest or scandal, you can be sure that they will import both. Money is the bottom line.

  21. tom p says:

    You’re on the same side as them regarding da shit novel code was what i meant.

    I’m not sure that many people want to add this stuff about jeebus having babies, it’s just a few conspiracy theory nutters.most ‘western liberals’ seem to be atheist or agnostic, rather than believing not only in jeebus, but adding extr bits about him being a father too.

    The resurrection is not a matter iof weighing up probabilities, it’s a matter of belief. Either you dobelieve that someone can die and then come back to life and roll an enormous boulder out of the way, or you don’t believe in zombies.

  22. Christopher Shell says:

    Not true at all! :o) Everything is a matter not of belief, but of evidence. How on earth could mere ‘believing’ change the evidence?
    Any belief worth its salt is based on weighing of probabilities. That is why the simple ‘either you do 100% or you dont 100%’ is so not true. Most times in life there’s no 100%, but often there is a working hypothesis which seems to score better than the other options.

  23. tom p says:

    Religious belief is not at all a matter of weiging up the probabilities, it’s a matter of rejecting the natural in search of the supernatural. Rejecting the certain (eg – water into wine never happened) in favour of the fantastic that can only be explained by spooky magical powers (eg – water into wine happened).
    Religious belief doesn’t require proof or evidence, it merely requires faith.
    If you have come to the conclusion that all the jeebus was the son of god and that all the magical stuff he’s said to have done are true based on weighing of probabilities, then i’d suggest that you steer well clear of bookies, ‘cos you’ll be splashing your wad on the longest shot in the shop every single time.

  24. Christopher Shell says:

    Im sure it is, but as you know I have always reacted negatively to anything associated with the word ‘religion’. You will never find an example of me viewing this word/concept in a positive way.
    Religion: no. Relationship: yes. Reality: yes.

  25. monitor says:

    What definition of “religion” are you using which allows you to make the ridiculous claim that Christianity isn’t one?

  26. tom p says:

    “Reality: Yes”?
    Believing in a sky fairy who created the universe is reality?
    believing that this sky fairy’s spirit raped a carpenter’s virgin wife to provide a child that he could allow to be sacrificed, and then this same child became the zombie christ, coming back to life 3 days later only to asccend to the magical utopian sky-kingdom of perfection heaven afterwards, because this was the only way that our sins could be cleansed and that we could be saved and go to heaven? You call this reality?

  27. Michael Haag says:

    Is there any proof that Sister Mary Michael actually is or ever was a nun? Is there any evidence that such an organisation as Our Lady’s Community of Peace and Mercy — to which Mary Michael claims to belong — exists in Lincoln or anywhere else? These are not rhetorical questions; I would like to have answers from anyone who knows — by email, please.

  28. […] MWW reported last August about a protest at Lincoln Cathedral by a nun and a few hangers-on. They were angry about the Da Vinci Code being filmed there, after the dean had accepted a “donation” of £100,000 to the church funds. […]