Boycott Da Vinci Code film says top Vatican official
By Philip Pullella
ROME, April 29, 2006 (news.yahoo.com) - The Vatican stepped up its offensive against "The Da Vinci Code" on Friday when a top official close to Pope Benedict blasted the book as full of anti-Christian lies and urged Catholics to boycott the film.
The latest broadside came from Archbishop Angelo Amato, the number two official in the Vatican doctrinal office which was headed by Pope Benedict until his election last year.
Amato, addressing a Catholic conference in Rome, called the book "stridently anti-Christian .. full of calumnies, offences and historical and theological errors regarding Jesus, the Gospels and the Church."
He added: "I hope that you all will boycott the film."
The movie, which is being released by Sony Pictures division Columbia Pictures, stars Tom Hanks and premieres next month at the Cannes film festival in France. Sony Pictures is the media wing of Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news).
Amato said the book, written by Dan Brown, had been hugely successful around the world thanks in part to what he called "the extreme cultural poverty on the part of a good number of the Christian faithful."
The book has sold over 40 million copies.
The novel is an international murder mystery centered on attempts to uncover a secret about the life of Christ that a clandestine society has tried to protect for centuries.
The central tenet of the book is that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children.
In his address to the group, Amato said Christians should be more willing "to reject lies and gratuitous defamation."
He said that if "such lies and errors had been directed at the Koran or the Holocaust they would have justly provoked a world uprising."
He added: "Instead, if they are directed against the Church and Christians, they remain unpunished."