23 April 2006

Angels and Demons

I have hardly done anything the last few days. Why you ask? The couch held me captive so of course I had to read a book to keep myself occupied. The book? Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. It's the precursor to the Da Vinci Code but no one paid any attention to it until the Da Vinci Code became popular. Now people are clamoring to read it. I myself have not read the Da Vinci Code, but I plan to real soon! I started reading this book on Thursday afternoon and finished it yesterday morning. I was spellbound. I could not put it down! I read for probably six hours on Friday--the longest continual stretch being from 7:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. As soon as breakfast was over yesterday morning I picked it up. I just had to finish it!

For those of you who don't know what the story is I'll "summup." It's a story about a scientist at a research facility is Switzerland (CERN, that really does exist) who discovers something called antimatter. Basically he proves that the Big Bang did occur but that it was orchestrated by God. A lot of people interpret the Bible creation story of God creating the earth out of nothing. "Let there be light and there was light." Of course to scientists this can never be true. You can never make something out of nothing. But this scientist did and he was killed for it.

The story takes you on a treasure hunt throughout Rome and the Vatican City looking for this sample of antimatter that is buried somewhere in it and also looking for what is called the Church of the Illuminati. The Illuminati were a secret brotherhood of scientists in the 1600's that were constantly at odds with the Catholic Church. Over time the brotherhood evolved into something much more evil.

But that's not why I'm writing this. I'm writing it because I was fascinated by the Catholic Church. There was so much information about how the church works. The book took you all around Rome to actual sites of churches, Catholic libraries, old buildings...etc. There is so much tradition and ritual in the church. The story is set during a time where they are about to elect a new Pope and so there is so much ceremony surrounding the choosing of the new Pope. There are so many things that have to be done just because they have always been done that way. You have to start the Conclave 15 days after the Pope dies, only certain cardinals are eligible (only those under 80), there has to be a 2/3 majority vote and so on. Seems strange that it wouldn't have to be unanimous. I also find it strange that people vie for the position of the Pope. They can vote for themselves (and no doubt they do).

Reading this book I was also reminded of the oath that Catholic priests and nuns take of celibacy. What I know of the Catholic church regarding this (and correct me anyone if I'm wrong) is that the priests and the nuns allegedly "marry" the church. Now please no one get offended but this thought of never getting married or having children kind of reminds me of homosexuality. In each case there will never be any progeny. Now I believe that one of our main purposes on earth is to find a spouse and rear children. Children are the way that we live on and bring so much joy and happiness. It seems that those who should know the plan of salvation the best (priests and nuns) in reality seem to not understand it at all.

This book was fascinating in so many ways. I learned so much about the city of Rome and the Vatican City, much of the Catholic Church and also it was just an exciting story. I highly recommend it if you have 3 straight days to devote to it cuz you won't be able to put it down!


LammyAnn said...

EXCELLENT book. I read it like you... devoured it. Mostly because the Catholic history and traditions... really kept my interest. Another book you might find interesting is POPE JOAN. I found it to be really interesting to read about this woman who served as Pope, unbeknownst to her people. The entire book is based on truths, but debatable in the Catholic community. I've been to several places in Europe who show documentation that she did indeed exist. Great read.

Suzie Petunia said...

Sounds so interesting... I can't wait to read it. Is Dan Brown catholic? I'm just wondering. You know how people that write literature about the LDS faith who are NOT LDS themselves usually get it "a little wrong" or at least squewed a bit? I would hate to read read this book and take all the facts at face value if they weren't true. It IS fiction after all. Do you think he took a creative license to mystify details?

Jamie J said...

Suzie, good questions. I'm not sure if he's Catholic, but some of the things I refered to in my post I did verify--such as the election process of the pope. All the locations that Dan Brown has put in the book are authentic (he writes that) and I know that the part about celibacy is true too.
What you said is definitely true though...you can't always believe everything you read!

Lisa M. said...

I absolutely ABSOLUTELY LOVE... LOVE L O V E these books. I too was hooked. Not on just the tale, but the facinating history of religion depicted in them.

Island Queen said...

Wow! Now I'm going to read it. I've been hearing so much about it. Thanks for the 'summup' :-)

Tigersue said...

I have read the book to and I very much enjoyed it. I think I might have liked it a bit better than the Davinci Code. I don't think he is Catholic, and if the rumors are true his next book willdeal with Mormons, so we had better be prepared for what he dishes out at us.