By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The Vatican says it “cannot approve” of the new Dan Brown movie, Angels and Demons, scheduled to open on May 15, and has refused to allow filmakers to use the Holy See or any Catholic church in Rome for filming.
The new film is a sequel to The Da Vinci Code and stars Tom Hanks in his role as Harvard professor Robert Langdon. However this time, Prof. Langdon is on a mission to save the Vatican from being destroyed by a sinister elite known as the Illuminati. The evil-doers are attempting to blow up the Vatican with an anti-matter bomb made from material stolen from a giant physics experiment at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland.
The entire film is set in Rome, and Sony Pictures applied last summer for permission to film two key scenes inside the churches of Santa Maria del Popolo and Santa Maria della Vittoria. The Vatican refused permission to use the premises.
“Usually we read the script but in this case it wasn’t necessary,” said Vatican spokesman Father Marco Fibbi. “Just the name Dan Brown was enough.”
The previous Dan Brown film made the Church into a villain and was based on the premise that Jesus produced children through a secret marriage to Mary Magdalene. When the film debuted in 2006, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, said: “Boycotting this film is the least we can do. The book and the film are a pot pourri of nonsense, a phantasmagorical cocktail of inventions.”
Fr. Fibbi says the new film is more of the same nonsense. “Angels and Demons peddles a type of fantasy that damages our common religious beliefs, just like The Da Vinci Code did.”
In the March 20 issue of Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian bishops, the bishops said the Church “cannot approve” of the film.
The bishops also expressed concern about whether or not to call for a boycott. Archbishop Velasio DePaolis said a boycott could create a “boomerang effect” which will only give the movie more publicity.
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