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The message of the Da Vinci code 



Close-up of Dan Brown
Dan Brown tells about his book
The story begins
The Cilice
Opus Dei
Leonardo Da Vinci
Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail



The Cilice


In the book monk Silas had a cilice on his thigh for two hours. Silas felt how the thorns penetrated his skin and this way he remembered the suffering of Jesus and felt that the cilice helps to resist the lusts of the flesh; this is how Dan Brown describes the use of the cilice. After that Silas performed a holy ceremony, whipping himself with. Originally and traditionally the cilice was a very uncomfortable piece of cloth which was made of goat hair. The cilice is named after a Roman province called Cilicia. The cilice was used to torture the flesh, it was used for penance and to resist the temptations (of the flesh). Today the cilice is a metal chain with small thorns, and it is worn e.g. on the upper thigh where it is tightly fastened to.


Opus Dei and the Cilice


Pastor Michael Barrett from Opus Dei organization tells why a part of the members of Opus Dei uses the cilice. According to Michael some unmarried people from Opus Dei use the cilice once a week for one or two minutes. According to Michael they use a cilice made of cotton string that weighs less than two ounce. 


According to the pastor of Opus Dei, monk Silas’ use of the cilice and whipping were laid too much stress on in the book. However, the fact is that a part of the members of Opus Dei uses  the cilice two hours per day and that the whipping that is seen in the film is also true. (This is confirmed by e.g. Sharon Clasen, a former member of Opus Dei.) The members of Opus Dei use strings, the end of which are knotted, as a whip. According to Opus Dei the whip is not used to cause bleeding wounds, but it is used (whipping ones back) during such prayers as “Our Father” and “Hail Mary”.


The Bible, the cilice and the whipping


The Bible does not know about using the cilice and does not advice us to whip ourselves during praying or any other time. The Bible teaches that the mortification of the flesh happens through the Holy Spirit and not through means of torturing the flesh (the cilice, a whip). Dan Brown’s book wallows in describing the bloody using of the cilice and whipping. But it remains to be true that there are members in the Roman Catholic Church who use the cilice and the whip to the end that their flesh would mortify from its’ indolence and that they through it would learn to love more God and their neighbours. However, the cilice and the whip are useless means to reach that goal. The way that the Bible teaches, the God’s way, to make man love God and his neighbours will be realized when man by the grace of God receives salvation in Jesus Christ and gets the power of the Holy Spirit to his heart, through which man will serve and love God and his neighbour and overcome the temptations of the flesh. The believer does not need the cilice to remember the suffering of Jesus since the gospel of the suffering and resurrection of Christ has been put in the believer’s heart in the Holy Spirit.



Petri Paavola from Finland


Finnish Bible 33/38
Old King James version
Da Vinci-koodi: Dan Brown (the book - Finnish version)
Da Vinci-code: Ohjaus Ron Howard (the movie - English version and Finnish), canon 29












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