In spite of the weariness this invokes, I need to mention that wretched, blasphemous and insipid farce of a novel, The Da Vinci Code. I do this because it serves as an excellent cultural monument to the conflict we now find ourselves in, and to the current neglect of true Chivalry. Dan Brown is a propagandist for a kind of anti-chivalry, which he proposes as the real thing. What he piously calls the “divine feminine” and its ritual worship, is in fact only a thinly disguised justification for male lust. St. Mary Magdalene, portrayed as the Holy Grail, becomes the icon for the religion of goddess worship. What is paraded as a high regard for women, a kind of Chivalry, is really only a sophisticated euphemism for the current culture of death, which encourages men to use women for their own pleasure. Curiously, Dan Brown glosses over the presence of Our Lady in his “history” of Christianity, as he trashes the Church for its alleged downgrading of women, for the truth about Mary would not have worked well with his other “research.” The connection of all this-in Brown’s imagination-with the Knights Templar and the faux, secret society of the Priory of Sion only reinforces the idea that his value system is the “original” Chivalry. What a joke!
The truth is that Our Lady has always been at the center of Catholicism’s high regard for women and for motherhood. Today we are afraid to witness to the superiority of Western culture, as we submissively wither under the scimitar of Islam and relax at the velvet touch of secularism and sensuality. Society wrongfully names traditional Catholicism as the culprit behind the degradation of women. In actuality, it is not traditional marriage, marital and extramarital chastity, Christian motherhood nor chivalrous fatherhood that stand behind the insecurity of the feminists. It was not the cult of the Virgin that spawned the culture of death. The dignity of women, the sanctity of marriage and family life, the beauty of chastity, and the exalted nature of Catholic culture all find their anchor in devotion to and imitation of the Virgin Mary. It is Our Lady who ultimately secures “…the place of woman in the Church to be the guardian of the primacy of the contemplative over the active, of persons over ideas, and of family over economy” (Part I of this article). And it is the beauty of Our Lady that is the perennial inspiration of men to fight for these values. Even Henry Adams, the secular historian, acknowledged the power of Our Lady in the history of Western culture. He did this as he compared the power of the technology of his time, the early 20th century, with the power of the Virgin who inspired the building of the cathedral in Chartres, France:
All the steam in the world could not, like the Virgin, build Chartres. Symbol or energy, the Virgin had acted as the greatest force the Western world had ever felt, and had drawn men’s activities to herself more strongly than any other power, natural or supernatural, had ever done” (Mont Saint Michel and Chartres).