In an exclusive Q&A, Catholic Books and Gifts talks
with the author of De-Coding Da Vinci about her life,
her work and her faith.
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code became a bestseller
after its 2003 release. Director Ron Howard's 2006 film adaptation
received acclaim as well. But what most do not know is that both
contain blatant inaccuracies and fabrications about the Catholic Church
portrayed convincingly as historical truth--this was even pointed out
by credible sources in the secular media, including The New York
Times. The Vatican called for a boycott. Regardless,
many read the book and saw the film--Catholics and non-Catholics alike--and
suddenly the Church came under scrutiny due to these popularized misrepresentations.
And after 2009's Angels and Demons, the faithful again went on
De-Coding Da Vinci sets the record straight:
Dan Brown's novels are a work of fiction, intended only to entertain.
In her book, Amy Welborn points out Brown's discrepancies and corrects
them with references from Scripture, dogma and the rich Tradition of
our faith. In the process, she shows us that the truths are far
more interesting than the lies anyway.
In March of 2010, Welborn took some time to talk
with Catholic Books and Gifts about her upcoming projects, her writing
career as an apologist and her Catholic faith.
"All the columnists
were male, older, and were priests. I thought they
could use a different voice."
CB&G: When did you first realize you
wanted to be a writer of Catholic apologetics?
AW: The desire to write really coalesced
for me in the mid-eighties when I moved to Florida and got a look at
Florida Catholic newspaper. I noticed that all the
columnists were male, older and were priests. I was in my mid
to late twenties at that time and thought they could use a different
voice in their columns. I wrote to the editor and asked if I
could submit something. He said sure, he liked it, and I
started writing columns--first for the
Florida Catholic, then for Catholic News Service for
several years and then for Our Sunday Visitor.
Apologetics was a good topic as I was teaching high school Religion
and grew frustrated with the poor quality of materials.
Apologetics, in particular, was a huge gap in high school curricula.
CB&G:: Where do your topic ideas come
from? What influences you to address these topics?
AW: Most of my book topics come from
editors. Many readers are surprised to learn that ideas for
books come from both directions--authors and publishers. Most
of my books have been written because an editor decided their
publishing house needed a book on a certain topic--like apologetics,
saints, Da Vinci Code, Mary Magdalene--and they would ask me to
write it. Three of my books have been totally my idea: The
Words We Pray (Loyola), Here. Now. A Catholic Guide to the
Good Life (Our Sunday Visitor) and Come Meet Jesus: An
Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI (Word Among Us).
CB&G: How have you grown,
intellectually or spiritually, because of your writing?
AW: I've grown a lot because of my writing
because I really do consider and accept a request from an editor to
write a book on a certain topic as a push from God. It's a
topic I need to know more about or it's a topic God knows will meet
some gap in my spiritual life.
"I consider a request from an editor
on a certain topic as a push from God."
CB&G: What advice would you give to
up-and-coming writers, especially those wanting to tackle
AW: You have to be aware of the questions
that real people have. At the same time you have to have the gift of
helping those people see that the answers to those questions point
them to the mercy of God, not winning an argument just for the sake
CB&G: How do you deal with writer's
AW: Work. Pray. Realize that
your little project is not the keystone holding Western Civilization
or the Catholic Church from collapsing. You just have to do
what you can, humbly. Stepping away from the computer usually
CB&G: What are you working on now?
AW: I'm working on a number of smaller
projects including revisions of a couple of my late husband Michael
Dubriel's books. I am revising his How to Book of the Mass
so it reflects the upcoming new translation of the Mass. I am
also preparing an independently published edition of The Power of
the Cross--even though Our Sunday Visitor has put it out of
print, it is a very good book, one that Michael was proud of and one
that many people appreciate.
CB&G: What is your favorite passage of
Scripture and how does this guide you as an apologetic writer?
AW: One of my top three favorites is
Genesis 50:20 in which Joseph says to his brothers, "Even though you
meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve his present end,
the survival of many people." This captures the whole of
salvation history as well as the drama and complexity of human life.
I think it also is good for apologists to remember, knowing God can
use anything to reach a person's heart, even our own weak
efforts--and even our mistakes.