By Carl Olson
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown's best selling novel, purports to be more than fiction: it claims to be based on fact and scholarly research. Brown wants his readers to believe that he is revealing the long-concealed truth about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and early Christianity, a truth that he says has been suppressed by the malevolent and conspiratorial forces of the Catholic Church. The novel alleges that there has been throughout history a secret group of true followers of a Gnostic Jesus and his wife, Mary Magdalene, the true "Holy Grail". Almost everything most Christians and non-Christians think they know about Jesus, according to Dan Brown, is completely wrong, the result of Catholic propaganda designed to hide the truth from the world.
But are The Da Vinci Code's claims fact or just plain fiction? Is the novel well-researched as claimed? What is the truth about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the early Church? Has the Catholic Church distorted the real Jesus? Why is the novel so popular? What about the anti-Catholic, anti-Christian agenda behind the novel?
Best selling author Carl Olson and journalist Sandra Miesel answer these and other important questions. Their painstaking research into The Da Vinci Code and its sources reveals some surprising truths. No one who has read or heard about The Da Vinci Code should miss this provocative and illuminating book.
"The title of this book by Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel says it all. The authors of The Da Vinci Hoax deserve our gratitude for exposing in considerable detail and with a sure touch the fabrications of Dan Brown's book. Theirs is the definitive debunking."
--Cardinal Francis George
Archbishop of Chicago
"You'll save yourself precious time and money, and hang on to your common sense, if you skip The Da Vinci Code and go straight to Carl Olson's and Sandra Miesel's wonderful The Da Vinci Hoax. Conspiracy theories are always alluring, but nothing satisfies like the truth -- and Olson and Miesel do a superb job of defending the Catholic faith against one of the strangest pieces of fiction of our time."
--Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Denver
"Finally! Someone has taken the trouble to counter the absurdities of The Da Vinci Code, and to confront all the anti-Christian and anti-Catholic rhetoric that book has inspired. In writing their own well-informed and well-argued text, Olson and Miesel have done a real service, not just to Christians, but to anyone weary of contemporary fads and foolishness. And unlike the original Code, The Da Vinci Hoax is a delight to read."
Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University
"In The Da Vinci Hoax, Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel bring their considerable analytical powers to bear on the phenomenally successful novel by Dan Brown. The Da Vinci Code is a writhing nest of neo-Gnostic myths, blatant falsehoods, half-truths and absurd suppositions presented as facts--indeed, it is one of the most odious cases of revisionist history that have appeared during the past two centuries.
Olson and Miesel dissect it carefully--break the code of the Code, as it were--revealing not only Brown's distortions of history but the underlying malice in his ‘fictional' attack on Christianity. The Da Vinci Hoax is more than a refutation of a single book; it is an antidote to a poisonous genre that is growing in contemporary writing. This is a fascinating read and very good medicine!"
Author, Father Elijah: An Apocalypse
"I've painfully watched some usually-sensible university students fall victim to The Da Vinci Code disease. I'll enjoy having this clearly-written antidote to prescribe."
Professor, The University of Texas at Austin
Editor-in-chief, World Magazine
"Olsen and Miesel have done a superb and meticulous job of dissecting the fraud which is The Da Vinci Code. Not only Christians, but all fair –minded people owe them a debt of gratitude."
Professor of History, St. Louis University
By Karen Santorum
Foreword by Mother Teresa
This moving collection of intimate, poignant, and heart-warming letters was written by Karen Santorum to her unborn child, Gabriel Michael. During her pregnancy, Karen wrote letters to her son, never expecting that the letters would someday be published. Though her pregnancy began as normal, Karen ended up experiencing serious difficulties with her pregnancy at the same time that her husband Rick Santorum, the Republican Senator for Pennsylvania, was leading the charge against partial birth abortions in the U.S. Senate.
Letters to Gabriel is the story of Gabriel Michael's short, but meaningful life, and a tribute to the sanctity of life, the deep faith of the Santorums, and strong family values. The intimate bond between mother and child is expressed by Karen with great tenderness and love. This is a deeply moving book that will touch the heart of its readers with the beauty of the gift of life, and inspire them to share it with others.
Karen Garver Santorum graduated from the Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing in 1983, and worked as a registered nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit caring for premature and very sick infants. She graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 1986, and then went on to get her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Pittsburgh Law. Karen is married to former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and is the mother of their seven children.
"May God bless Richard and Karen Santorum, and console them with the knowledge that their son is in Heaven. May Mary, the Mother of Jesus, use these inspiring letters to encourage all expectant mothers to cherish the gift of life they carry, and to love the child within their womb."
- Mother Teresa
"A courageous and deeply moving account. A story filled with hope, faith and courage."
- Charlton Heston
"When the Santorums received a blessing named Gabriel, they suddenly experienced the reality at the heart of a public policy argument about respect for life. This is their story."
- George F. Will
"This moving book quietly and lovingly reminds us why, and for what, we truly grieve: not our own lives, but the loss of others. Highly recommended."
- Gary L. Bauer
"Karen Santorum's incredible book is both powerful and tender. It is a profound reminder that human life is created and loved by God for his own purpose."
- Cal Thomas
By Andrea Tornielli
"Francis, rebuild my Church!" That is how St. Francis of Assisi heard the call of Christ. It is also how Jorge Mario Bergoglio, at the age of 76, and a Jesuit, seems to have accepted his election to the papacy with the choice of a name that no other pope has ever chosen.
Who is Pope Francis, elected in one of the shortest conclaves in history? Who is the man chosen to be the first pope from the Americas and the first Jesuit pope?
How does he see the world and his ministry? How does he understand his call to serve Christ, his Church, and the world? In short, what is the mind and heart of this new pope of a new world--of the Americas and the rest of the world of the 21st Century?
In the words, the ideas, and the personal recollections of Pope Francis--including material up to the final hours before his election--the most highly regarded Vatican observer on the international scene reveals the personality of this man of God, gentle and humble. The son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, he made radically following Christ and the way of non-violence the pillars of his pastoral ministry in a country, continually tormented by social and economic inequities.
This complete biography offers the keys to understanding the man who was a surprise choice, even a kind of revolutionary choice, for pope. It is the story of the humble pastor of one of the world's largest archdioceses; a cardinal who takes the bus, talks with common folk, and lives simply. It is the story of why the cardinal electors of the Catholic Church set aside political and diplomatic calculations to elect a pope to lead the renewal and purification of the worldwide Church of our time.
Andrea Tornielli is a Vatican correspondent for the highly regarded Italian newspaper La Stampa who has collaborated with numerous Italian and international publications. His numerous books include Pius XII, the Pope of the Jews; The Choice of Martini; Pope Luciani: the Smile of a Saint; The Pope Who Saved the Jews; Benedict XVI, Guardian of the Faith; The Secret of Padre Pio and Karol Wojtyla; and The Attack on Ratzinger (with Paolo Rodari).
This title is also available in Spanish as Jorge Bergolio Francisco: La vida, las ideas, las palabras del Papa que cambiara la Iglesia.
"Brothers and Sisters, before the bishop blesses the people, I ask you to pray to God that he will bless your bishop"
- Pope Francis
"May this knowledge of Pope Francis' past and background enlighten every reader ... [and] provide a context for the new surprises he seems capable of offering to the Church and to the modern world as a whole."
- Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., From the Foreword
"Though the vast majority of Catholics are exceedingly pleased and edified by the love, simplicity, joy, and spiritual depth of Pope Francis, some press reports have criticized him for his "lack of response" to the terrible dictatorship of Jorge Redondo in Argentina, while others have complained about his stands on gay parenting and the life issues. In his timely biography of Pope Francis, Vatican insider Andrea Tornielli, has exposed the shallowness of these criticisms by giving a fair, objective and far more complete report of Archbishop Bergoglio's interaction with the dictatorship of Argentina (as well as its victims). He also presents the theological, sociopolitical, cultural, and spiritual depth with which Pope Francis treats marriage, the culture of life, social justice, and the preferential option for the poor. As I moved through this biography, I began to appreciate the depth and complexity of Pope Francis -- a soul imbued with learning, compassion, intelligence, and wisdom, originating out of a profound love for Christ and a desire to serve him in every way possible - a true son of St. Ignatius who provided the world with a similar example, devotion and love."
- Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., President, Magis Center of Reason and Faith
is one of the best, if not the best, Vatican reporter out there. Period. He is the best-sourced, most accurate and one of the most knowledgeable reporters among the unique band of "Vaticanisti" who travel with the pope, digest theological treateses as bedtime reading and count cardinals and monsignors as friends. He has been fascinated by the church since he was 14, and it shows. Yes, he has a degree in classic Greek. But more importantly, he knows the Vatican and the people who inhabit it, and uses that knowledge to inform the world about what goes on in the frescoed halls of the Apostolic Palace. If anyone needed evidence, take his reporting of the conclave that elected Pope Francis the 265th Successor of Peter: His reports about the behind-the-scenes negotiations before the conclave were cited by cardinals as the reason for imposing a media blackout on the process. It didn't work. Tornielli
kept on reporting, providing a modicum of transparency on the most secretive of processes."- Nicole Winfield
, Associated Press
"Catholics and others eager to know all they can about Pope Francis will learn a great deal from Andrea Tornielli's first-person account."
- James Hitchcock, Professor of History, St. Louis University, author of History of The Catholic Church
"In Francis: Pope of a New World, Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli provides us with a much-anticipated glimpse into the life and history of our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, as well as the events surrounding his election as Bishop of Rome and the first days of his pontificate. Tornielli introduces us to this humble Cardinal from Argentina who now serves as the Vicar of Christ - "Padre Jorge," as he is lovingly known by his flock in Buenos Aires. He relates the history of his early years, his vocation to the priesthood and a life poured out in loving service to Christ and His Bride, the Church. He splendidly conveys our Holy Father's personal attributes of prayerfulness, devotion, humility, simplicity, affability, frugality, zeal for souls, ecumenical spirit and pastoral concern for the smallest and most vulnerable of God's children, whether found on city streets or in the poverty of the Villas Miserias. Readers will be touched by this account of the man who is now lovingly known as Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and inspired by the message of God's mercy he seeks to bring to our present-day world."
- Mother Assumpta Long, O.P., Prioress General of The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
By Pope Benedict XVI
"Having faith in the Lord is not something that involves solely our intelligence, the area of intellectual knowledge; rather, it is a change that involves our life, our whole self: feelings, heart, intelligence, will, corporeity, emotions, and human relationships. With faith everything truly changes."
So Pope Benedict XVI introduced his catecheses for the Year of Faith, a series of sixteen talks given at his weekly audience from October 2012 to the end of his papacy in February 2013. These talks explore how and why faith is relevant in the contemporary world. How can we come to certainty about things that cannot be calculated or scientifically confirmed? What does God's revelation mean for our daily lives? How can the hunger of the human heart be fulfilled? Offering the guidance of biblical exegesis, pastoral exhortation, and brotherly encouragement, Pope Benedict seeks to answer these questions and many others.