The advertising campaign for Dan Brown’s latest book has already started: Inferno is climbing the charts of best-sellers, bringing in more money to its author and publisher. Dan Brown is, in fact, first of all, a cash cow. But he is also a mudslinger making attacks on the Catholic Faith and Church; his latest novel, too, is intended as an attack on the Vatican. To achieve his aim he does not hesitate to use all kinds of falsehoods and distortions of the truth. Dan Brown could be defined as the perfect follower of Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, whose catchword was: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” This time he has gone as far as to use the greatest Italian poet and devout Catholic, Dante Alighieri, in his attacks on Catholicism, by making him out as a heretic.
In order to discuss Inferno and expose its Masonic and anti-Catholic ideology, I caught up with Professor Massimo Introvigne, founder of CESNUR (Center for the Study of New Religions), who in 2011 was the OCSE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, and is currently chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty established by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is professor of sociology, specializing in religious movements, at the Pontifical Salesian University in Turin.
Dan Brown’s latest book Inferno is out. Its author never changes: whatever he writes is against the Catholic Church…
Professor Massimo Introvigne: That’s true. Dan Brown’s hostility to the Vatican, i.e., the Church, is the thread running through all of his novels. In his first book featuring Robert Langdon, Angels and Demons, he maintains that the Church has opposed science for centuries. In The Da Vinci Code, the best-known and most hyped of his novels, Brown attempts to shake the very foundation of Christianity by insinuating that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that He did not regard Himself as God or intend to found the Church.
In The Lost Symbol, which we discussed in our previous conversation, Dan Brown makes his stand for Freemasonry.
Introvigne: In that novel the American writer presents Freemasonry, the Church’s centuries-old rival, as a much more friendly, enlightened and progressive organization. It is not by chance that Dan Brown presented his latest book at Freemason’s Hall, the London-based headquarters of world Freemasonry, expressing admiration and affection for this organization.
So, what does Brown do in his latest novel with the intriguing title Inferno?
Introvigne: In order to understand the anti-Christian ideology underlying the novel, we must say something about its plot (warning: this will include a spoiler about how the book ends). We must, first of all, point out that the novel’s protagonist is Harvard symbology professor Robert Langdon, who also features in the title role in Brown’s three previous novels and acts as the author’s spokesperson.
Here Langdon, who has lost his memory at the beginning of the novel and is in a hospital in Florence, is engaged in a race against time to stop a pandemic which Swiss scientist Bertrand Zobrist triggered before committing suicide. The scientist, a well-known biochemist, is a member of an extreme wing of transhumanism.
What is transhumanism?
Introvigne: It is a real intellectual movement started by biologist Julian Huxley (1887-1975), who advocated the transformation of mankind into a superior species through the unlimited use of genetic engineering. In Dan Brown’s novel, Zobrist is convinced that the goals of transhumanism will not be achieved, as they take a long time during which mankind will be wiped out by population increase. As a female scientist says to Langdon, “The end of our species is near. It will not be produced by fire and brimstone, by an apocalypse or a nuclear war… Global collapse will be the outcome of overpopulation. Mathematics is not an opinion.”
It sounds like the Club of Rome report or other catastrophic predictions about the supposed demographic threat…
Introvigne: That’s right, but Zobrist assumes that this threat has come true and has therefore devised a drastic solution: he has hidden in a public place a water soluble bag containing a biohazard; this bag is expected to open within a few days of Langdon’s appearance on the scene, thus releasing a virus which will soon spread throughout the world and cleanse the planet of overpopulation. With the aid of the inevitable beautiful lady who will eventually fall in love with him, Langdon sets out in search of the lethal bag. He deciphers some cryptic clues dropped by Zobrist himself, an enthusiast of Dante’s Inferno; these clues lead to the Divine Comedy, to Renaissance painter and art historian Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) and the shrewd and controversial Venetian Doge Enrico Dandolo (1107-1205), and take him from Florence to Venice and then from Venice to Istanbul. Actually, Dan Brown does not make it clear why Zobrist dropped these clues if he really wanted the bag not to be discovered.
Is the bag found in the end?
Introvigne: Brown’s book features breathtaking chases in which Robert Langdon, World Health Organization agents led by Dr. Elizabeth Sinskey, members of a consulting group called the Consortium and Zobrist’s transhumanist disciples who intend to make sure that their master’s plan is carried out after his suicide, are after the bag. In the end Langdon fails for once, because when he gets to the place where the bag is hidden, this has already opened and by now the virus has rapidly infected all humans. However, it is not a lethal virus, but one causing infertility; yet in some cases the body reacts, even though one third of the world population are affected by this induced undiagnosed infertility which is passed on to posterity.
What’s the novel’s message?
Introvigne: Langdon and Dr. Sinskey realize that Zobrist used questionable methods, but his aims were right: so it is best to leave things as they are without trying to stop the spread of the virus. In other words, the message of the book can be summed up as follows: cleansing the world of overpopulation is right.
This is the message of influential ideological and political circles which regard man as a “cancer” for the planet…
Introvigne: That’s right. Also, in the epilogue, Langdon reflects on the fact that sin exists, but not as conceived of by the Church. The real sin is diverting attention from the demographic bomb which will wipe out mankind, and focusing on minor problems. Needless to say, the Church is the subject most responsible for this universal sin. It opposes mass sterilization – for which the virus referred to in the novel is an obvious metaphor — and the widespread distribution of contraceptives, especially in Africa. Dr. Sinskey points out that the Pope and bishops “have spent a lot of money to indoctrinate Third World countries and to make them believe that contraception is an evil.” “Who can teach people to make love better than a small group of single 80-year-olds?” replies Langdon with his usual anti-Catholic malice. Also, in a conversation with Zobrist, Dr. Sinskey praises the World Health Organization for “spending millions of dollars to send doctors to Africa to distribute prophylactics for free.”
“It was no use,” replies Zobrist, “an even bigger army of Catholics rushed to Africa after you to warn the population that they would go to hell if they used prophylactics.” Fortunately, in Brown’s vision, Microsoft owner Bill Gates and his wife Melinda (who he thinks should be canonized for braving the rage of the Church), donated “560 million dollars to promote access to contraception all over the world, but even this effort came too late.”
Professor Introvigne, catastrophic predictions about overpopulation have already been mostly proved wrong; in many countries there is concern about low birth rates, a threat to the future of entire nations…
Introvigne: It goes without saying that Dan Brown knows that the demographic bomb is a myth debunked by lots of statistical research proving that most countries in the world are confronted with the problem of underpopulation. Far from being too high, the birth rate in Europe and Russia is too low; there are not enough young people to keep adequate production and consumption level and to pay national insurance contributions for those who have retired from work. According to World Bank population projections, China will soon be faced with the same problem. Even Africa could support a larger population than the present with a fairer and more rational distribution of resources. Dan Brown’s novel, which takes up a myth which has been ridiculed, sounds paradoxical when many important economists fear demographic suicide, a scenario envisaged by Blessed John Paul II too. Nowadays, who can take seriously the Club of Rome’s 1970 report predicting that there would be world wars around the year 2000 for the control of agricultural resources which would run out on account of the population increase?
Then, Dan Brown goes so far as to set a devout Catholic like Dante against the Church…
Introvigne: In his book, Dan Brown presents Dante as a heretic and a member of secret societies who pretended to be a Catholic to escape from persecution, but who actually believed in the syncretistic and esoteric religion which Brown likes so much, characterized by a strong aversion to the Catholic Church and which unites the Enlightened of Angels and Demons, the members of the Priory of Zion of The Da Vinci Code and the Freemasons of The Lost Symbol. The legend depicting Dante as a heretic and forerunner of Freemasonry was widely spread in the 19th century, but was proved false by Dante scholars. In other words, Dan Brown proposes a distorted and simplified version of Dante which does not take into account the deep Catholic faith of the greatest Italian poet.