Mike Aquilina

A Grace for the Grail

Friday February 29th 2008, 3:07 am

Jim Wudarczyk reviews The Grail Code: Quest for the Real Presence in the publication of Our Lady of the Angels Holy Name Society (Pittsburgh). Some excerpts:

It appears that the latest vehicle for frustrated anti-Catholic writers is the rewriting of the Grail Legend…

So while we are being washed away in the flood of garbage writing, it is extremely refreshing when truly Catholic heroes rise and take on the fallacies of popular books. Two exceptionally skillful writers are Mike Aquilina and Christopher Bailey. These men are truly scholars. In their book The Grail Code: Quest for the Real Presence, they analyze various medieval writings and successfully uncover the real meaning of the legendary Grail.

Although the combination of Middle Age literature and theology is usually an invitation to shy away from such books, Aquilina and Bailey write with unbelievable clarity. While their joint venture—The Grail Code—is written in a simple, easy-to-understand language, they never sacrifice the scholarly research or theological principles of the book. The authors understand what the great writers of the medieval era knew and loved—that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, and every time that we receive Our Lord in the sacrament of Holy Communion, we enter into the true Grail. In writing about the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table searching for the Holy Grail, Aquilina and Bailey note, “The real miracle of the Grail romances is that they are true—not historically, but morally and spiritually.” …

Since each page is packed with insights into history, literature, and religion, it is almost a disservice to the authors to selectively quote from The Grail Code. Far better is it for the reader to drown himself in this fantastic book.

Aquilina and Bailey sum up the importance of the Grail legends and reinforce what we should learn from each time we attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: “They (the Grail romances) show us the world as it really is, with blessing for the worthy and judgment for the unworthy. They show us how to make the miraculous leap from unworthiness to worthiness. They show us how to meet God face-to-face. . . And that’s what we really want. All the other things we think we want are snares—decoys that keep us from pursuing the real object of all desire. It’s right there in front of us, on every altar in Christendom. Are we worthy to achieve the Grail? Are we ready to be satisfied? Are we ready to walk with God in paradise?”

The authors do not hesitate to defend Christ and His Church from past and present heresy. They dismiss the nonsense in Holy Blood, Holy Grail as “a hodgepodge of psuedo-history and anti-establishment rantings.” Then, by citing various Scriptural passages, they dismiss the absurd idea that Jesus was not seen as divine or as the Son of God until the reign of Constantine.

Aquilina and Bailey take off the gloves and land some really good bare-knuckled punches at Dan Brown’s equally absurd novel, The Da Vinci Code. When a reviewer for the New York Daily News took Brown at his word and praised “his research as impeccable,” our Catholic heroes quickly point out, “Most of that research was done in books that come from what we have a right to call the wacky fringe. Many of the ideas Brown puts forth as fact are either unlikely or impossible.”…