In a Good Friday homily before Pope Benedict XVI, the preacher for the papal household denounced theories that make huge profits in denying Church teaching about Jesus, a plain reference to the best-selling novel "The Da Vinci Code."
"Christ is still sold, but not any more for 30 coins," the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa told the pope and the rest of the congregation in St. Peter's Basilica, referring to Jesus' betrayal before his crucifixion by the Apostle Judas, "but (sold) to publishers and booksellers for billions of coins."
Cantalamessa, a Franciscan priest, did not cite the Dan Brown novel by name, but he obviously appeared to refer to it and to the upcoming movie based on the book.
"No one succeeds in stopping this speculative wave, that instead will register a boom with the imminent release of a certain film," the preacher said during a late afternoon Good Friday service marking the suffering and crucifix of Jesus.
The preacher said many people were "fascinated by every new theory according to which he was not crucified and didn't die, especially if the theory includes his flight with Mary Magdalene."
In the novel, Jesus marries Mary Magdalene, and they have children.
Last year an Italian cardinal, Tarcisio Bertone, called for a boycott of the book. Bertone, archbishop of Genoa, was a top aide in the Vatican's office safeguarding orthodoxy when the office was headed by German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict.
Benedict presided over Good Friday services in the basilica a few hours before he went to the Colosseum to participate in the traditional torch-lit Way of the Cross procession, reports AP.
The Russian missile cruiser Varyag, which is currently staying in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, blocked the US Navy aircraft carrier strike group in the Adriatic Sea