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Angels & Demons  
First edition cover
Author Dan Brown
Country United States
United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Mystery, thriller fiction
Publisher Pocket Books
Publication date May 2000
Media type Print (Hardback and Paperback)
Pages 480
ISBN ISBN 0-671-02735-2 (US) / 9780552160896(UK)
OCLC Number 52990309
Dewey Decimal 813/.54 21
LC Classification PS3552.R685434 A82 2000
Preceded by Digital Fortress
Followed by Deception Point

Angels & Demons is a 2000 bestselling mystery-thriller novel written by American author Dan Brown and published by Pocket Books. It revolves around the quest of fictional Harvard University symbologist Robert Langdon to uncover the mysteries of a secret society called the Illuminati and to unravel a plot to annihilate Vatican City using destructive antimatter. The book uses the idea of a historical conflict between science and religion, particularly that between the Illuminati and the Roman Catholic Church.

The novel introduces the character Robert Langdon, who is also the protagonist of Brown's subsequent 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code, and 2009 novel, The Lost Symbol. It also shares many stylistic elements with its sequel, such as conspiracies of secret societies, a single-day time frame, and the Catholic Church. Ancient history, architecture, and symbolism are also heavily referenced throughout the book. A film adaptation was released on May 15, 2009, though it was set after the events of The Da Vinci Code film, which had been released in 2006.


Publication background

The book contains several ambigrams created by real-life typographer John Langdon.[1] Besides the "Angels And Demons" and "Illuminati" designs, the title of the book is also presented as an ambigram on the hardcover book jacket, and on the inside cover of the paperback versions. The book also contains ambigrams of the words Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, which has served to bring the art of ambigrams to public attention by virtue of the popularity of the book.[2] The "Illuminati Diamond" mentioned in the book is an ambigram of the four elements arranged in the shape of a diamond.


The plot follows Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, as he tries to stop what seems to be the Illuminati, a legendary secret society, from destroying Vatican City with the newly-discovered power of antimatter.

CERN director Maximilian Kohler discovers one of the facility's most respected physicists, Leonardo Vetra, murdered in his own secured, private quarter at the facility. His chest is branded with a symbol—an ambigram of the word "Illuminati"—and his eye is dislodged. Instead of calling the police, Kohler researches the topic on the Internet and finally gains contact with Langdon, an expert on the Illuminati. Kohler requests his assistance in uncovering the murderer.

What Langdon finds at the murder scene frightens him: the symbol appears to be authentic, and the secret society of legend, long thought to be extinct, seems to have resurfaced. Kohler calls Vetra's adopted daughter Vittoria to the scene, and it is later revealed that the Illuminati have also stolen a canister containing a quarter of a gram of antimatter—an extremely dangerous substance with immense destructive potential comparable to a small nuclear weapon, a potential unleashed upon contact with any form of normal matter. When charged with electricity at CERN, the canister's magnetic field controls the drop of antimatter to float suspended in a high vacuum, ensuring safety; but when it was taken away from its electricity supply, it automatically switched to its back-up battery, which will only power it for 24 hours, at which point the antimatter will fall, come into contact with the base of the canister, and self-destruct. The Illuminati have placed the stolen canister somewhere in Vatican City, with a security camera in front of it, as its digital clock counts down to the explosion.

Langdon and Vittoria make their way to Vatican City, where the pope has recently died, and the papal conclave has convened to elect the new pontiff. Cardinal Mortati, host of the election, discovers that the four Preferiti, cardinals who are considered to be the most likely candidates in the election, are missing. After they arrive, Langdon and Vittoria begin searching for the Preferiti in hopes that they will also find the antimatter canister in the process. Their search is assisted by Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca (the late pope's closest aide) and the Vatican's Swiss Guard, including Commander Olivetti, Captain Rocher, and Lieutenant Chartrand.

Convinced that the Illuminati are in some way responsible for the disappearance of the Preferiti, Langdon attempts to retrace the steps of the so-called "Path of Illumination", an ancient and elaborate process once used by the Illuminati as a means of induction of new members; prospective candidates for the order were required to follow a series of subtle clues left in various landmarks in and around Rome. If the candidate followed the clues properly, he would be able to locate the secret meeting place of the Illuminati and be granted membership in the order. Using his extensive knowledge of religious and occult history, Langdon sets off on the Path of Illumination in hopes of uncovering clues as to the disappearance of the Preferiti and the location of the antimatter canister.

Bernini's Habbakuk and the Angel, and Agostino Chigi's pyramidal wall tomb.

The Path leads Langdon to four major locations in Rome (Vatican City is within the city of Rome), each associated with what the Illuminati believed to be the four primordial elements of all things in existence: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Upon arriving at each location, Langdon finds one of the Preferiti murdered in a fashion appropriate to the location's respective element: The first cardinal was branded with an Earth ambigram, had soil forced down his throat and was buried; the second was branded with an Air ambigram and had his lungs punctured; the third was branded with a Fire ambigram and was burned alive; and the fourth was branded with a Water ambigram and was chained and left to drown at the bottom of a large fountain.

West Ponente at Saint Peter's Square.

After finding the bodies of the first two Preferiti (Earth and Air), Langdon hurries to the Santa Maria della Vittoria Basilica and finds the Preferiti's abductor in the act of setting the third cardinal on fire. The kidnapper, who is also responsible for Leonardo Vetra's murder and the theft of the antimatter canister, is an unnamed assassin who is working under the orders of the Illuminati master "Janus", whose true identity is unknown. Commander Olivetti is killed, and Langdon nearly dies himself in this encounter with the assassin, who manages to kidnap Vittoria. Langdon manages to escape and meets the assassin yet again at the final element's landmark (Water), but is unable to save the final cardinal.

Langdon nevertheless attempts to complete the Path of Illumination in order to find the assassin and rescue Vittoria. His search leads him to Castel Sant' Angelo, that hides an underground tunnel leading directly into the pope's chambers in the Vatican. Langdon frees Vittoria, and together they send the assassin falling several hundred feet to his death. The two hurry back to St. Peter's Basilica, where they find that Kohler has arrived to confront the camerlengo in private. Langdon and Vittoria fear that Kohler is Janus, and that he has come to murder the camerlengo as the final step in his plot against the Church. Hearing the camerlengo scream in agony, the Swiss Guards burst into the room and open fire on Kohler. Just before he dies, Kohler gives Langdon a videotape that he claims will explain everything.

With time on the canister running out, the Swiss Guard begins to evacuate the Basilica. As he is exiting the church, the camerlengo apparently goes into a trance and rushes back into the Basilica, claiming that he has received a vision from God revealing the location of the antimatter canister. With Langdon and a few others in pursuit, the camerlengo ventures deep into the catacombs beneath the Basilica and finds the canister sitting atop the tomb of Saint Peter. Langdon and the camerlengo retrieve the antimatter and get in a helicopter with only five minutes to spare. The camerlengo manages to parachute safely onto the roof of St. Peter's just as the canister explodes harmlessly in the sky. Langdon's fate is not immediately known, as there was not a second parachute on board the helicopter. The crowd in St. Peter's Square look in awe as the camerlengo stands triumphantly before them. Because of this "miracle", the papal conclave debate whether exception to Catholic law should be made to elect the camerlengo as the new Pope. Langdon managed to survive the explosion by using a window cover from the chopper as a parachute, and landed in the Tiber River near Tiber Island, which is famous for its reputation as an island blessed with miracles of healing. He is hurt, but not seriously.

Langdon returns to St. Peter's and views Kohler's tape with the College of Cardinals. Langdon, Vittoria, and the cardinals confront the camerlengo in the Sistine Chapel, where the truth is finally revealed; Shortly before the beginning of the novel, the pope was scheduled to meet with Leonardo Vetra concerning his research at CERN. Vetra, a devout Catholic, believed that science was capable of establishing a link between Man and God, a belief that was manifested by his research on antimatter. Vetra's beliefs caused great discomfort to the camerlengo, who firmly believed that the Church alone, not science, should dictate the moral creed of the Christian faithful. While discussing Vetra, the pope reveals that his support is due to science having given him a son. Without waiting to hear the explanation (that the child was the result of artificial insemination), and horrified that the pope appeared to have broken his vow of chastity, the camerlengo plots to "rectify" the situation. He poisoned the pope and, under the guise of an Illuminati master (Janus), he recruited the assassin, a killer fueled by the same zeal and animus towards the Church as his ancestors during the Crusades, to kill Vetra, steal the antimatter, and kidnap and murder the Preferiti just as the papal conclave was set to convene. The camerlengo planted the antimatter in St. Peter's, and feigned his last-minute vision, in order to be seen as a hero and the savior of Christendom by those who witnessed his brave acts. The Illuminati thus had no actual role in any of the novel's events, and its "involvement" was merely a plot engineered by the camerlengo to cover his own plans. As Langdon suspected from the very beginning, the Order of the Illuminati was indeed long extinct.

As one final twist, it is revealed that Camerlengo Ventresca himself was the birth son of the late pope, conceived through artificial insemination. Suddenly overcome with grief and guilt at having caused so much death, especially that of his own father, Ventresca soaks himself in oil and immolates himself before a crowd of onlookers in St. Peter's Square. The conclave elects Cardinal Mortati as the new pope. In an ironic twist, through a quibble, a loophole in the papal election process known as election by acclamation, two popes were chosen: Ventresca by all the cardinals cheering his name before he lights himself on fire, and Mortati through normal means.

Langdon and Vittoria retire to the Hotel Bernini. Lieutenant Chartrand delivers a letter and package to Langdon from the new pope. The package is the "Illuminati Diamond" brand, which is loaned indefinitely to Langdon.


  • Robert Langdon: A professor of symbology at Harvard University and the main protagonist of the novel. He is flown to CERN to help investigate the murder of Leonardo Vetra. He is described as wearing a pair of chinos pants, turtleneck, and tweed jacket. His name is a tribute to John Langdon.
  • Leonardo Vetra: A scientist working at CERN and a priest. He is researching on antimatter when he is murdered by the Hassassin. He is also the adoptive father of Vittoria.
  • Vittoria Vetra: The adopted daughter of Vetra. She, like her father, works with CERN. Her research focuses on biology and physics. The reader learns early in the novel that Vittoria worked with her father in their research of antimatter.
  • Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: The Camerlengo (Papal Chamberlain) during the conclave. He murdered the pope, who is later revealed to have been his biological father. His codename for dealing with the assassin, "Janus", was taken from the two-faced Roman god of beginnings and ends, and for whom the month of January was named.
  • Cardinal Saverio Mortati: The most senior cardinal in the conclave, and the current Dean of the College of Cardinals. He was the Devil's Advocate for the late pope.
  • Commander Olivetti: The commandant of the Swiss Guard. He is initially skeptical on the claims of Langdon and Vittoria until he talks with the Hassassin. He, along with other Swiss Guards, search desperately for the missing antimatter hidden somewhere at the Vatican. He is killed by the Hassassin at the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria.
  • Captain Rocher: The second in command after Commander Olivetti. He is contacted by Max Kohler telling his knowledge on the real cause of the events. He is killed by Lt. Chartrand, who was under the impression that Rocher was an Illuminatus.
  • Hassassin: The killer hired by Janus, the Camerlengo in disguise, to fulfill his plans. He is of Middle Eastern origin and displays his sadistic lust for women throughout the novel. He murders Leonardo Vetra, the Preferiti, and Commander Olivetti. He dies after being pushed from a balcony by Langdon at the Castel Sant'Angelo and breaking his back on a pile of cannonballs below.
  • Maximilian Kohler: The director of CERN. He is feared at CERN despite his paralysis. His wheelchair contains electronic gadgets such as a computer, telephone, pager, video camera, and a gun. He contacts Langdon to help him find the killer of his friend, Leonardo Vetra. He blames the Church for his paralysis, due to his highly religious parents denying him medical care as a child, becoming a scientist as a way to rebel.
  • Gunther Glick and Chinita Macri: A reporter and camera crew for the BBC. They are contacted by the Hassassin regarding the events happening in the Vatican. Glick has a notorious reputation as a sensationalist and conspiracy theorist journalist. Macri, meanwhile, is a veteran camera crew and a foil to Glick. They have the first-hand account on the events in the novel, from the beginning of the conclave to the election of Mortati as pope.
  • Lieutenant Chartrand: A young Swiss Guard. He, together with Commander Olivetti and Capt. Rocher, search desperately for the antimatter hidden somewhere in the Vatican. He shoots and kills Captain Rocher after he is mistaken as an Illuminatus. In the end of the novel, he is sent by the new pope to give the Illuminati Diamond as an indefinite loan to Langdon.
  • Cardinal Ebner: One of the four Preferiti and a cardinal from Frankfurt, Germany. He is killed by asphyxiation, by means of putting dirt and soil into his mouth.
  • Cardinal Lamassé: One of the four Preferiti and a cardinal from Paris, France. He is killed by punctures to his lungs, from which he bled to death.
  • Cardinal Guidera: One of the four Preferiti and a cardinal from Barcelona, Spain. He is incinerated alive.
  • Cardinal Baggia: One of the four Preferiti and a cardinal from Milan, Italy and the favorite to succeed as the new pope. He was drowned.


The book's first edition contained numerous inaccuracies of location of places in Rome, as well as incorrect uses of Italian language. Some of the language issues were corrected in the following editions.[3]

Aside from the explicit introduction, the book depicts various fictional experts explaining matters in science, technology, and history in which critics have pointed out inaccuracies. An example of this is the antimatter discussions, wherein the book suggests that antimatter can be produced in useful and practical quantities and will be a limitless source of power. CERN has published a FAQ on Angels and Demons, stating that antimatter cannot be used as an energy source because creating it takes more energy than it produces.[4] The same document alleges that the novel attributes the invention of the Internet to CERN, when in fact, the Internet was created by the United States Department of Defense, and it was the World Wide Web that was created by a team lead by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN. However, the book indeed specifies that CERN invented the World Wide Web, and not the Internet.[5]

Angels & Demons Decoded, a documentary on the American cable television network, The History Channel, premiered on May 10, 2009, shortly before the release of the novel's film adaptation. The documentary explores the various bases of the novel's story, as well as its inaccuracies. A CERN official, for example, points out that over the last 20 years, approximately 10 billionths of a gram of antimatter has been produced at the facility, whose explosive yield is equivalent to that of a firecracker, far less than is needed for it to be the threat depicted in the novel.[6]

Since the word "Illuminati" is usually used to refer to a society founded in 1776 in Bavaria by Adam Weishaupt[7], the novel's links between that society and Galileo and Bernini are presumably fictional, as is the "Path of Illumination" though the Bernini artworks on that path are quite real, as are the catacombs beneath the Vatican (which, contrary to what the novel says, are indeed open to tourists with advance reservations[8]).

See also


  1. ^ Official website of John Langdon, section "Angels & Demons" (retrieved 2007-01-30)
  2. ^ "The Ten Most Famous Ambigrams". Ambigram Magazine (  
  3. ^ Gialli & Thriller:ANGELI E DEMONI di Dan Brown
  4. ^ "CERN - Spotlight: Angels and Demons". CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research. Archived from the original on 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2008-09-11.  
  5. ^ Dan Brown. Angels & Demons; 2000. Pocket Books; Pages 7 & 20–21.
  6. ^ Angels & Demons Decoded at
  7. ^ See e.g. Barruel, Code of the Illuminati, p. 8, an anti-Illuminati book published in 1798
  8. ^ U.S.A. Today article on touring the novel's landmarks


External links

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From Wikiquote

Faith is universal. Our specific methods for understanding it are arbitrary. Some of us pray to Jesus, some us go to Mecca, some of us study subatomic particles. In the end we are all just searching for truth, that which is greater than ourselves.
Science seems irrelevant. Science can heal, or science can kill. It depends on the soul of the man using the science. It is the soul that interests me.

Angels and Demons (2000) is a mystery novel by American writer Dan Brown. The novel introduces the character Robert Langdon, a Harvard University symbologist who is also the main character of the book's sequels, The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol. The story concerns a conflict between the Roman Catholic Church and a secret society known as the Illuminati.


Vittoria Vetra: Religion is like language or dress. We gravitate toward the practices with which we were raised. In the end, though we are all proclaiming the same thing. That life has meaning. That we are grateful for that created us.
Robert Langdon: So you’re saying that whether you are a Christian or a Muslim simply depends on where you were born?
Vittoria Vetra: Isn’t it obvious? Look at the diffusion of religion around the globe.
Robert Langdon: So faith is random?
Vittoria Vetra: Hardly. Faith is universal. Our specific methods for understanding it are arbitrary. Some of us pray to Jesus, some us go to Mecca, some of us study subatomic particles. In the end we are all just searching for truth, that which is greater than ourselves.

Camerlengo: Do you believe in God?
Robert Langdon: Science tells me God must exist. My mind tells me I will never understand God. And my heart tells me I am not meant to.

Teacher: Terrorism, has a single goal. What is it?
Student 1: Killing innocent people?
Teacher: Incorrect. Death is only a byproduct of terrorism.
Student 2: A show of strength?
Teacher: No. A weaker persuasion does not exist.
Student 3: To cause terror?
Teacher: Concisely put. Quite simply, the goal of terrorism is to create terror and fear. Fear undermines faith in the establishment. It weakens the enemy from within… causing unrest in the masses. Write this down. Terrorism is not an expression of rage. Terrorism is a political weapon. Remove a government’s façade of infallibility, and you remove its people’s faith.

Hassassin: Faith does not protect you. Medicine and airbags… those are things that protect you. God does not protect you. Intelligence protects you. Enlightenment. Put your faith in something with tangible results. How long has it been since someone walked on water? Modern miracles belong to science… computers, vaccines, space stations… even the divine miracle of creation. Matter from nothing… in a lab. Who needs God? No! Science is God.

Conclave... It was one of the oldest traditions in Christendom. Nowadays, because the outcome of conclave was usually known before it began, the process was criticized as obsolete—more of a burlesque than an election. The camerlengo knew, however, this was only a lack of understanding. Conclave was not an election. It was an ancient, mystic transference of power. The tradition was timeless… the secrecy, the folded slips of paper, the burning of the ballots, the mixing of ancient chemicals, the smoke signals.

Vittoria Vetra: [thinking] He had once explained divine communication to her in scientific terms, and he had made her believe. She still remembered the day she had seen him praying and asked him, Father, why do you bother to pray? God cannot answer you.
Leonardo Vetra: My daughter the skeptic. So you don’t believe God speaks to man? Let me put it in your language. He took a model of the human brain down from a shelf and set it in front of her. As you probably know, Vittoria, human beings normally use a very small percentage of their brain power. However, if you put them in emotionally charged situations—like physical trauma, extreme joy or fear, deep meditation—all of a sudden their neurons start firing like crazy, resulting in massively enhanced mental clarity.
Vittoria Vetra: So what? Just because you think clearly doesn’t mean you talk to God.
Leonardo Vetra: Aha! And yet remarkable solutions to seemingly impossible problems often occur in these moments of clarity. It’s what gurus call higher consciousness. Biologists call it altered states. Psychologists call it super-sentience. And Christians call it answered prayer. Sometimes, divine relation simply means adjusting your brain to hear what your heart already knows.

Buddha: Each of us is a god. Each of us knows all. We need only to open our minds to hear our own wisdom.

Maximillian Kohler:"One does not need to have cancer to analyze its symptoms."

"Mr. Langdon all questions were once spiritual. Since the beginning of time, spirituality and religion have been called on to fill in the gaps that science did not understand. The rising and setting of the sun was once attributed to Helios and a flaming chariot. Earthquakes and tidal waves were the wrath of Poseidon. Science has now proven those gods to be false idols. Soon all gods will be proven to be false idols. Science has now provided answers to almost every question man can ask. There are only a few questions left and they are the esoteric ones. Where do we come from? What are we doing here? What is the meaning of life and the universe?"

"My father could argue two sides of a Mobius strip."

[After waking up in the hospital, finding himself naked and on a table]
Robert Langdon: (Thinking) 'Definitely not gypsies,' he decided in his semiconscious delirium.
Robert Langdon: (Thinking) 'Aliens, perhaps?'
Yes, he had heard about things like this. Fortunately these beings would not harm him. All they wanted were his-
Robert Langdon: 'Not on your life!'
Langdon sat bolt upright, eyes flying open.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: We all benefit from a sense of contact with divinity… even if it is only imagined.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Science seems irrelevant. Science can heal, or science can kill. It depends on the soul of the man using the science. It is the soul that interests me.

Lieutenant Chatrand: I don’t understand this omnipotent-benevolent thing.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: You are confused because the Bible describes God as an omnipotent and benevolent deity.
Lieutenant Chatrand: Exactly.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Omnipotent-benevolent simply means that God is all-powerful and well-meaning.
Lieutenant Chatrand: I understand the concept. It’s just… there seems to be a contradiction.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Yes. The contradiction is pain. Man’s starvation, war, sickness…
Lieutenant Chatrand: Exactly! Terrible things happen in this world. Human tragedy seems like proof that God could not possibly be both all-powerful and well-meaning. If He loves us and has the power to change our situation, He would prevent our pain, wouldn’t he?
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Would He?
Lieutenant Chatrand: Well… if God Loves us, and He can protect us, He would have to. It seems He is either omnipotent and uncaring, or benevolent and powerless to help.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Do you have children?
Lieutenant Chatrand: No, signore.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Imagine you had an eight-year-old son… would you love him?
Lieutenant Chatrand: Of course.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Would you let him skateboard?
Lieutenant Chatrand: Yeah, I guess. Sure I’d let him skateboard, but I’d tell him to be careful.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: So as this child’s father, you would give him some basic, good advice and then let him go off and make his own mistakes?
Lieutenant Chatrand: I wouldn’t run behind him and mollycoddle him if that’s what you mean.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: But what if he fell and skinned his knee?
Lieutenant Chatrand: He would learn to be more careful.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: So although you have the power to interfere and prevent your child’s pain, you would choose to show you love by letting him learn his own lessons?
Lieutenant Chatrand: Of course. Pain is part of growing up. It’s how we learn.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Exactly.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: To the Illuminati, and to those of science, let me say this. You have won the war.
The wheels have been in motion for a long time. Your victory has been inevitable. Never before has it been as obvious as it is at this moment. Science is the new god.
Medicine, electronic communications, space travel, genetic manipulation… these are the miracles about which we now tell our children. These are the miracles we herald as proof that science will bring us the answers. The ancient stories of immaculate conceptions, burning bushes, and parting seas are no longer relevant. God has become obsolete. Science has won the battle. We concede.
But science’s victory has cost every one of us. And it has cost us deeply.
Science may have alleviated the miseries of disease and drudgery and provided an array of gadgetry for our entertainment and convenience, but is has left us in a world with out wonder. Our sunsets have been reduced to wavelengths and frequencies. The complexities of the universe have been shredded into mathematical equations. Even our self-worth as human beings has been destroyed. Science proclaims that Planet Earth and its inhabitants are a meaningless speck in the grand scheme. A cosmic accident. Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us. Each of us is now electronically connected to the globe, and yet we feel utterly alone. We are bombarded with violence, division, fracture, and betrayal. Skepticism has become a virtue. Cynicism and demand for proof has become enlightened thought. Is it any wonder that humans now feel more depressed and defeated than they have at any point in human history? Does science hold anything sacred? Science looks for answers by probing our unborn fetuses. Science even presumes to rearrange our own DNA. It shatters God’s world into smaller and smaller pieces in quest of meaning… and all it finds is more questions.
The ancient war between science and religion as over. You have won. But you have not won fairly. You have not won by providing answers. You have won by so radically reorienting our society that the truths we once saw as signposts now seem inapplicable. Religion cannot keep up. Scientific growth is exponential. It feeds on itself like a virus. Every new breakthrough opens doors for new breakthroughs. Mankind took thousands of years to progress from the wheel to the car. Yet only decades from the car into space. Now we measure scientific progress in weeks. We are spinning out of control. The rift between us grows deeper and deeper, and as religion is left behind, people find themselves in a spiritual void. We cry out for meaning. And believe me, we do cry out. WE see UFOs, engage in channeling, spirit contact, out-of-body experiences, mindquests — all these eccentric ideas have a scientific veneer, but they are unashamedly irrational. They are the desperate cry of the modern soul, lonely and tormented, crippled by its own enlightenment and its inability to accept meaning in anything removed from technology.
Science, you say, will save us. Science, I say, has destroyed us. Since the days of Galileo, the church has tried to slow the relentless march of science, sometimes with misguided means, but always with benevolent intention. Even so, the temptations are too great for man to resist. I warn you, look around yourselves. The promises of science have not been kept. Promises of efficiency and simplicity have bred nothing but pollution and chaos. We are a fractured and frantic species… moving down a path of destruction.
Who is this God science? Who is the God who offers his people power but no moral framework to tell you how to use that power? What kind of God gives a child fire but does not warn the child of its dangers? The language of science comes with no signposts about good and bad. Science textbooks tell us how to create a nuclear reaction, and yet they contain no chapter asking us if it is a good or a bad idea.
To science, I say this. The church is tired. We are exhausted from trying to be you sign posts. Our resources are drying up from our campaign to be the voice of balance as you plow blindly on in your quest for smaller chips and larger profits. We ask not why you will not govern yourselves, but how can you? Your world moves so fast that if you stop even for an instant to consider the implications of your actions, someone more efficient will whip past you in a blur. So you move on. You proliferate weapons of mass destruction, but it is the Pope who travels the world beseeching leaders to use restraint. You clone living creatures, but it is the church reminding us to consider the moral implications of our actions. You encourage people to interact on phones, video screens, and computers, but it is the church who opens its doors and reminds us to commune in person as we were meant to do. You even murder unborn babies in the name of research that will save lives. Again, it is the church who points the fallacy of that reasoning.
And all the while, you proclaim the church is ignorant. But who is more ignorant? The man who cannot define lightning, or the man who does not respect its awesome power? This church is reaching out to you. Reaching out to everyone. And yet the more we reach, the more you push us away. Show me proof there is a God, you say. I say use your telescopes to look to the heavens, and tell me how there could not be a God! You ask what does God look like. I say, where does that question come from? The answers are one and the same. Do you not see God in you science? How can you miss Him! You proclaim that even the slightest change in the force of gravity or the weight of an atom would have rendered our universe a lifeless mist rather than our magnificent sea of heavenly bodies, and yet you fail to see God’s hand in this? Is it really so much easier to believe that we simply chose the right card from a deck of billions? Have we become so spiritually bankrupt that we would rather believe in mathematical impossibility than in a power greater than us?
Whether or not you believe in God, you must believe this. When we as a species abandon our trust in the power greater than us, we abandon our sense of accountability. Faith… all faiths… are admonitions that there is something we cannot understand, something to which we are accountable… With faith we are accountable to each other, to ourselves, and to a higher truth. Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed. If the outside world could see this church as I do… looking beyond the ritual of these walls… they would see a modern miracle… a brotherhood of imperfect, simple souls wanting only to be a voice of compassion in a world spinning out of control.
Are we obsolete? Are these men dinosaurs? Am I? Does the world really need a voice for the poor, the weak, the oppressed, the unborn child? Do we really need souls like these who, though imperfect, spend their lives imploring each of us to read the signposts of morality and not lose our way?
Tonight we are perched on a precipice. None of us can afford to be apathetic. Whether you see this evil as Satan, corruption, or immorality, the dark force is alive and growing every day. Do not ignore it. The force, though mighty, is not invincible. Goodness can prevail. Listen to your hearts. Listen to God. Together we can step back from this abyss.
Pray with me.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: If you could give your own soul to save millions, would you?

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Which is the greater sin? Killing one’s enemy? Or standing idle while your true love is strangled?

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Oh, this faithless world! Someone must deliver them. If not you, who? You have been saved for a reason. Show them the old demons. Remind them of their fear. Apathy is death. Without darkness, there is no light. Without evil, there is no good. Make them choose. Dark or light. Where is the fear? Where are the heroes? If not now, when?

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: A promise to God is the most important promise of all. Never break a promise to God.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Since the beginning of time this church has fought the enemies of God. Sometimes with words. Sometimes with swords. And we have always survived. But the demons of the past were demons of fire and abomination . . . they were enemies we could fight-enemies who inspired fear. Yet Satan is shrewd. As time passed, he cast off his diabolical countenance for a new face . . . the face of pure reason. Transparent and insidious, but soulless all the same.
Tell me, Mr. Kohler! How can the church condemn that which makes logical sense to our minds! How can we decry that which is now the very foundation of our society! Each time the church raises its voice in warning, you shout back, calling us ignorant. Paranoid. Controlling! And so your evil grows. Shrouded in a veil of self-righteous intellectualism. It spreads like a cancer. Sanctified by the miracles of its own technology. Deifying itself! Until we no longer suspect you are anything but pure goodness. Science has come to save us from our sickness, hunger, and pain! Behold science-the new God of endless miracles, omnipotent and benevolent! Ignore the weapons and the chaos. Forget the fractured loneliness and endless peril. Science is here! But I have seen Satan's face lurking . . . I have seen the peril . . .
Maximilian Kohler: What are you talking about! Vetra's science practically proved the existence of your God! He was your ally!
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Ally? Science and religion are not in this together! We do not seek the same God, you and I! Who is your God? One of protons, masses, and particle charges? How does your God inspire? How does your God reach into the hearts of man and remind him he is accountable to a greater power! Remind him that he is accountable to his fellow man! Vetra was misguided. His work was not religious, it was sacrilegious! Man cannot put God's Creation in a test tube and wave it around for the world to see! This does not glorify God, it demeans God!
Maximilian Kohler: And so you had Leonardo Vetra killed!
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: For the church! For all mankind! The madness of it! Man is not ready to hold the power of Creation in his hands. God in a test tube? A droplet of liquid that can vaporize an entire city? He had to be stopped!
Maximilian Kohler: You have confessed. You have no escape.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Don't you see. Confessing your sins is the escape. When God is on your side, you have options a man like you could never comprehend.

Vittoria Vetra: When did you hear your call?
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Before I was born. I'm sorry, that always seems like a strange question. What I mean is that I've always known I would serve God. From the moment I could first think. It wasn't until I was a young man, though, in the military, that I truly understood my purpose.
Vittoria Vetra: You were in the military?
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Two years. I refused to fire a weapon, so they made me fly instead. Medevac helicopters. In fact, I still fly from time to time.
Vittoria Vetra: Did you ever fly the Pope?
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Heavens no. We left that precious cargo to the professionals. His Holiness let me take the helicopter to our retreat in Gandolfo sometimes. Ms. Vetra, thank you for your help here today. I am very sorry about your father. Truly.
Vittoria Vetra: Thank you.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: I never knew my father. He died before I was born. I lost my mother when I was ten.
Vittoria Vetra: You were orphaned?
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: I survived an accident. An accident that took my mother.
Vittoria Vetra: Who took care of you?
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: God. He quite literally sent me another father. A bishop from Palermo appeared at my hospital bed and took me in. At the time I was not surprised. I had sensed God's watchful hand over me even as a boy. The bishop's appearance simply confirmed what I had already suspected, that God had somehow chosen me to serve him.
Vittoria Vetra: You believed God chose you?
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: I did. And I do. I worked under the bishop's tutelage for many years. He eventually became a cardinal. Still, he never forgot me. He is the father I remember."
Vittoria Vetra: What became of him? The cardinal who took you in?
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: He left the College of Cardinals for another position. And then, I'm sorry to say, he passed on.
Vittoria Vetra: Le mie condoglianze. Recently?"
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Exactly fifteen days ago. We are going to see him right now.

Cardinal Mortati: (thinking) Mortati actually admired the young man, secretly applauding the late Pope's selection for chamberlain. Mortati saw only conviction when he looked in the camerlengo's eyes, and unlike many of the cardinals, the camerlengo put church and faith before petty politics. He was truly a man of God. Throughout his tenure, the camerlengo's steadfast devotion had become legendary. Many attributed it to the miraculous event in his childhood . . . an event that would have left a permanent impression on any man's heart. The miracle and wonder of it, Mortati thought, often wishing his own childhood had presented an event that fostered that kind of doubtless faith. Unfortunately for the church, Mortati knew, the camerlengo would never become Pope in his elder years. Attaining the papacy required a certain amount of political ambition, something the young camerlengo apparently lacked; he had refused his Pope's offers for higher clerical stations many times, saying he preferred to serve the church as a simple man.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Supreme father, counselor, friend, you told me when I was young that the voice in my heart was that of God. You told me I must follow it no matter what painful places it leads. I hear that voice now, asking of me impossible tasks. Give me strength. Bestow on me forgiveness. What I do . . . I do in the name of everything you believe. Amen.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: His Holiness once told me that a Pope is a man torn between two worlds . . . the real world and the divine. He warned that any church that ignored reality would not survive to enjoy the divine. The real world is upon us tonight. We would be vain to ignore it. Pride and precedent cannot overshadow reason.

Commander Olivetti: The prayer of St Fracis, signore? Do you recall it?
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: God, grant me strength to accept those things I cannot change.

Robert Langdon: (thinking) The camerlengo was nothing like the images of frail, beatific old men Langdon usually imagined roaming the Vatican. He wore no rosary beads or pendants. No heavy robes. He was dressed instead in a simple black cassock that seemed to amplify the solidity of his substantial frame. He looked to be in his late-thirties, indeed a child by Vatican standards. He had a surprisingly handsome face, a swirl of coarse brown hair, and almost radiant green eyes that shone as if they were somehow fueled by the mysteries of the universe.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: His Holiness's office does not make me holy. I am merely a priest - a chamberlain serving in a time of need.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Men of God live in a dangerous world.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: You and I serve God in different capacities, but service always brings honor.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Abandon all fear and give this night over to God.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Tonight we change the world.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: For centuries the church has stood by while science picked away at religion bit by bit. Debunking miracles. Training the mind to overcome the heart. Condemning religion as the opiate of the masses. They denounce God as a hallucination - a delusional crutch for those too weak to accept that life is meaningless. I could not stand by while science presumed to harness the power of God himself! Proof, you say? Yes, proof of science's ignorance! What is wrong with the admission that something exists beyond our understanding? The day science substantiates God in a lab is the day people stop needing faith!

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Nothing unites hearts like the presence of evil. Burn a church and the community rises up, holding hands, singing hymns of defiance as they rebuild. Look how they flock tonight. Fear has brought them home. Forge modern demons for modern man. Apathy is dead. Show them the face of evil - Satanists lurking among us - running our governments, our banks, our schools, threatening to obliterate the very House of God with their misguided science. Depravity runs deep. Man must be vigilant. Seek the goodness. Become the goodness!

Vittoria Vetra: But the antimatter . . . You risked destroying the Vatican!
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: There is no risk when God is at your side. This cause was His.
Vittoria Vetra: You're insane!
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Millions were saved.
Vittoria Vetra: People were killed!
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Souls were saved.
Vittoria Vetra: Tell that to my father and Max Kohler!
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: CERN's arrogance needed to be revealed. A droplet of liquid that can vaporize a half mile? And you call me mad?

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Those who believe undergo great tests for God! God asked Abraham to sacrifice his child! God commanded Jesus to endure crucifixion! And so we hang the symbol of the crucifix before our eyes - bloody, painful, agonizing ­to remind us of evil's power! To keep our hearts vigilant! The scars on Jesus' body are a living reminder of the powers of darkness! My scars are a living reminder! Evil lives, but the power of God will overcome!

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Mr Kohler, have you come to make me a martyr?

Rocher: Shall I come for you at 11:15 pm too?
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: There will be no need to.
Rocher: Signore?
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: I will leave when the spirit moves me.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Commander, I will only say this once. I will not use this office as a pulpit to lie to the world. If I announce anything at all, it will be the truth.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: I am prepared to give my life tonight, quite literally, to save this church.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: I will save your church, Father. I swear it.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: I am a beacon in the darkness. I am the light.

Main Characters

  • Robert Langdon
  • Leonardo Vetra
  • Vittoria Vetra
  • Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca
  • Commander Olivetti
  • Captain Rocher
  • Lieutenant Chartrand
  • Hassassin
  • Maximilian Kohler

External Links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

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Welcome to the wiki-based annotated text and analysis Wikibook for the novel Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.


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