Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 28 July |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Stanley Rother
home iconNews
line break icon

Dan Brown’s “Inferno”: An Anti-Catholic Manifesto for the Culture of Death

Public Domain

Chiara Santomiero - published on 05/20/13 - updated on 06/07/17

Brown drudges up old overpopulation concerns precisely when much of the world is facing the opposite problem

“The Vatican hates me,” Dr. Elizabeth Sinskey, Director of the World Health Organization, says at one point in Dan Brown’s new thriller, Inferno. “You too? I thought I was the only one,” replies Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of religious symbology and the main character of Brown’s novels.

“A loathing for ‘the Vatican’, i.e. for the Catholic Church, is the thread holding Dan Brown’s novels together,” charges Turin sociologist Massimo Introvigne, Director of the CESNUR (Centre for Studies on New Religions) and author of three books criticizing the American novelist’s work.

In Inferno, Introvigne explains, the key to the plot is the idea (which all the characters accept) that humanity is close to being wiped out by population growth. As another scientist explains to Langdon: “The end of our species is at the door. It will not be caused by fire and brimstone, by an apocalypse or a nuclear war … global collapse will be caused by the number of the planet’s inhabitants. Math isn’t an opinion.”

Introvigne also cites the novel’s epilogue, where Langdon reflects on the fact that “sin” exists, but isn’t the sin about which the Catholic Church speaks. Rather, it is a denial, a “global pandemic” that causes us not to think about the time bomb of global overpopulation that is ticking and that certainly will destroy mankind, distracting us and turning our attention to other less urgent problems.

“And for Dan Brown,” Introvigne goes on to say, “the Catholic Church is principally responsible for this universal ‘sin.’ It opposes mass sterilization – of which the virus spoken of in the novel is an obvious metaphor – abortion, contraception, and euthanasia.”

“It’s paradoxical that Brown raises old myths and discredited exaggerations about the overpopulation that is about to destroy humanity, precisely at a time when much of the world is suffering from precisely the opposite of overpopulation,” the sociologist says.  “Europe and Russia have two few births, not too many, and there are already too few young people to maintain adequate levels of production, consumption and contributions to pension funds for those who no longer work. The World Bank predicts that China will soon have the same problem. Africa alone, about which the novel speaks at length, could maintain a population well above the current one, through a better and more reasonable distribution of resources.”

“And so we need to ask ourselves,” Introvigne concludes, “if there is a particular reason for this return to discredited demographic myths. The Inferno virus is obviously only an invention of the novel, but since ‘denial’ and not wanting to think about the inevitable and relatively imminent (a hundred years at most) end of humanity due to overpopulation is the only real ‘sin,’ it is clear that the novel, which includes Dan Brown’s usual note that it is not ‘just’ a novel – incites people to act, through transparent hints at abortion, forced sterilization, and euthanasia. Thus, the book turns into a manifesto for what Blessed John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis have called the ‘Culture of Death.’”

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.