Vatican Cardinal Arinze speaks out against "The Da Vinci Code"

A high-ranking Vatican cardinal has spoken out against the "The Da Vinci Code," the best-selling novel that is about to hit movie screens, saying it is based on wrong facts and can turn people against Christianity.

Cardinal Francis Arinze said "The Da Vinci Code" does not offer "a good presentation of Christianity at all. Rather, it does the very opposite, presents it wrongly: wrong facts and orienting people against Christianity."

Arinze, a Nigerian cardinal with a reputation for conservatism, made his comments in a documentary produced by the Rome-based TV news agency RomeReports and made available Friday. He was the latest church official to criticize the best-selling novel by Dan Brown.

"Any film produced on the basis of that book is already in error from the word go, no matter how interesting it may be," said Arinze, who heads the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Church officials have spoken out repeatedly against Brown's novel and the upcoming film, which stars Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou and is scheduled for release this month.

The novel, with 46 million copies in print, contends that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had descendants, and that Opus Dei, a conservative religious organization close to the Vatican, and the Catholic Church were at the center of covering it up.

RomeReports is a religious TV news agency whose director teaches at the Opus Dei-run University of Santa Croce in Rome. The documentary "The Da Vinci Code: A Masterful Deception," was directed by Rome-based journalist Mario Biasetti, reports AP.


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