Since 2000, Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais has expressed his opinion on a variety of faith topics. These texts were initially published in the "Ask the Religion Experts" column which appears every Saturday in The Ottawa Citizen. As of June 2005, Msgr. Patrick Powers, Vicar General, will be taking on the responsibility of the weekly articles.

Why do you think the Da Vinci code had spurred so much public reaction?

Until most recently, the Da Vinci Code was the latest in a long line of sensational works to capture the attention of so many. The Gospel of Judas emerged a few weeks ago, with immediate publicity. Some people think these pronouncements are completely authoritative and somewhat revolutionary.

Yet, apocryphal Gospels, and other theories, have been being written since the beginning of Christianity. Minimal research will yield many, including the Gospel of Thomas, to name but one. Conjecture over Jesus private life, whether or not he was married and might possibly have had children and whether or not secret societies exist - is not new.

Over time, the Church vetted out what was true, and gave us the authoritative, unquestionable, true Gospels. They are the cornerstone of all her official teachings, including, most recently, the documents of Vatican II, The Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church - not to mention all the encyclicals and other decrees which we use as guides at all times.

Why has this publication drawn such reaction? Such publications always have. Some are quick to claim that these are absolutely true. Others, like myself, are just as ready to reject them and point to all the official Church teachings which are the real cornerstone of our faith. It is precisely in these two points of view that you have the reaction, especially when the argument is over such important subjects.

However, I am fascinated to see that this debate is so contentions, at a time when many claim that the Church is irrelevant. As I said earlier, there is nothing new here, some people of all times seem to be captivated by these questions. I have no doubt, all the same, that theories come and go. But the truth, as it has for over two thousand years, will prevail.