A Vatican official says it would be better for the Church to advise believers to be cautious when it comes to the upcoming movie "Angels & Demons" rather than calling for bans against it.
Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, believes doing the latter could result in a "boomerang effect."
"Dramatizing the issue inadvertently gives publicity to 'Angels & Demons," he told the Italian daily La Stampa.
De Paolis' comments were made as rumors of a possible Vatican ban on the sequel to the 2006 blockbuster "The Da Vinci Code" have been trickling across the internet.
The upcoming film, based on the first bestselling book by The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, follows religious symbology professor Robert Langdon of Harvard University as he attempts to solve clues about an ancient underground brotherhood, the Illuminati, to save the Vatican from a powerful time bomb.
The first Brown adaptation, which was the second highest grossing movie of 2006 worldwide, centered around the idea that Jesus Christ married and fathered a child. It also depicted the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei as a murderous cult.
Though Archbishop De Paolis said a ban on "Angels & Demons" would be "absolutely reasonable," as the movie mixes fantasy and reality to the point of "distorting the historical reality of the Church," he suggested that such a ban is unlikely as Christians have dealt with persecution and opposition for centuries and grown stronger through them.
The key to handling "nonsense" and products of "pure imagination," such as the Gnostic "Gospel of Judas" translated and released in English by the National Geographic Society in 2006, is to rebut them with the truths of faith, the Catholic leader told La Stampa.
And that's precisely what the U.S.-based Catholic League has been working to do ahead of the May 15 release of "Angels & Demons."
Earlier this month, the Catholic League, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization, launched an educational campaign to inform the public about the agenda behind "Angels & Demons."
To help moviegoers distinguish fact from fiction, the Catholic League released a booklet that details the "myths, lies and smears that are made against the Catholic Church" and "provides evidence of the anti-Catholic animus harbored by those associated with the film."
"By the time we are finished with 'Angels & Demons,' there should be few who won't know what the Brown-Howard agenda entails," said Catholic League President Bill Donohue, referring to author Dan Brown and director Ron Howard.
Marketing for "Angels & Demons" is expected to pick up as Christians worldwide prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The movie, like "The Da Vinci Code," comes out around one month after Easter.