An announcement from the Vatican, made simultaneously in Rome and at a news conference in London, has confirmed that Supreme Pontiff Pope Benedict XVI has given special dispensation to disaffected fans of the novels of Dan Brown, allowing them to recant their devotion to the author and embrace the Roman Catholic Church.
This unprecedented move allows disenchanted readers to convert to Catholicism but retain their traditions and practices, such as getting over excited about pseudo-conspiracy runabout thrillers, whilst at the same time admitting that such books are actually historically inaccurate, clumsily written and really rather crap.
The announcement has already drawn interest from several readers, including former Dan Brown devotee Hilary Williams. ‘My daughter lent me The Da Vinci Code to read on holiday and I was hooked. The preface, which stated that everything in the novel is based on fact, gave it a legitimacy that I found lacking in other forms of worship. But I then went out and bought Brown’s 1998 debut novel Digital Fortress and, well let’s just say that I get my doctrinal mysticism from Rome nowadays.’
Another would-be convert is movie buff Derek Sincock. ‘I loved Tom Hanks in the Da Vinci Code – that film really hit my buttons. But Angels and Demons was a real disappointment. Who wants to watch two-and-a-bit hours of someone running around a bunch of statues and a helicopter blowing up? I think I’ll allow papal infallibility to inform my DVD purchases from now on.’
Since the Vatican’s announcement, other organisations have also attempted to enlarge their numbers. The BNP is preparing to open its doors to casual racists and people who have nothing against homosexuals, so long they ‘keep what they get up to in the privacy of their own home’; while the Labour Party is considering the unusual step of allowing socialists into its ranks. Meanwhile the Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a recruitment drive with the slogan ‘Want hokum? Go Anglican!’
(Written 26 Oct)