The Da Vinci Code opens today and with it comes an avalanche of supplementary specials, protests, copycats and all around Grail fever. Scholars and priests have been dissecting the book since it was first published in 2003 and have been refuting the main thrust of the story since 1982 when the progenitor of The Da Vinci Code, The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, first introduced these ideas to the world.
Those who seek to discredit the ideas put forth in these works have tended to concentrate their efforts on the more sensational theories in the books. A careful exposition of the fantastic tales of the Knights Templar, Mary Magdalene, Merovingians, Cathars, mysterious rogue priests and the like have dominated all criticism of these works. The clamor over the accuracy of the fine details in the story, while masquerading as scholarly criticism, is actually a (not necessarily intentional) distraction from the ultimate implication of these theories.
What The Da Vinci Code and Holy Blood Holy Grail have really done is challenge the stifling, corrupting, unnatural patriarchy of the Catholic Church, the Christian religion, and society in general. Through their fantastic accounts of conspiracy and intrigue the authors of these books have brought to the mainstream the discussion of the prominence of the female (specifically Magdalene) within the Jesus Movement of the early first century.
Whether or not there is actually a royal bloodline of Christ present today and what role organizations such as the Priory of Sion and the Knights Templar may have played in protecting it is secondary really. Restoring the Goddess is the real work at hand.
These books are successful and accurate in that they are able to tap the undercurrent of recognition within popular culture that the world is indeed out of balance. Male dominance through the centuries has given us war, avarice, greed, and an unnurturing gap between rich and poor. Only when the Goddess has been restored to her rightful place in the iconography of humanity will we even begin to make progress toward a more caring society. These books and now the Da Vinci Code movie are steps along that path.