With less than one week remaining before the opening of the film version of Dan Browns best-selling and highly controversial novel, The Da Vinci Code, Christians around the world are reacting from cautious admonition to calling for the movies ban.
Philippine Catholic bishops on Friday gave advice to priests and parishioners on how to deal with questions that can arise from the movies plotline that claims Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had a child with her. The bishops reminded parishioners that the book is fictitious.
"In the face of the confusion the novel has generated, we invite the Catholic faithful to serenely affirm the fundamental truths of our faith," said the statement issued by the bishops on Friday, according to Reuters.
Moreover, there are reportedly speculations that the movie might receive a R18 rating, which in the Philippines would only permit people over the age of 18 to watch the film. The island nations largest cinema chain, SM cinemas, does not show R18 films.
Earlier this week, the top aide to the Philippine president joined in the call to ban the film in the country.
"I think we should do everything not to allow it to be shown," said Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita on May. 10, according to Agence France-Presse.
"I don't see how we as a Catholic nation or as practicing Catholics would ever tolerate such a plot to be propagated in the name of freedom of expression."
The Philippines has a population of 85 million people out of which more than 80 percent are Catholic.
In India, a Catholic group cancelled plans to burn an effigy of The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown and pledged to go on a hunger strike to stop the films release, according to AFP.
On Wednesday, hundreds of people, including several dozen nuns, gathered at a convent in Mumbai to protest the worldwide release of the film. Moreover, the head of the Catholic Secular Forum along with some 50 people plan to go on a hunger strike in the center of the western Indian city starting on Friday to stop the films release.
In Europe, the Greek Orthodox Church has reportedly criticized the book with the approaching release of the film. According to Ana news agency, a leaflet will be distributed to churchgoers at all Orthodox churches this coming Sunday, stating that From a religious and historical point of view the content of the book is wholly false.
The author (American Dan Brown) wants to damage faith in the church and in Christ, as perfect God and perfect man, stated the leaflet created by the Greek Orthodox Holy Synod, the denominations supreme body.
Quite apart from the fact that the book attacks Christ, it also attacks the church, directly accusing it of lying and deceiving the faithful, it added.
The Da Vinci Coe is one of the most popular books in publishing history, selling more than 40 million copies worldwide in 44 languages.