Disputs over "The Da Vinci Code"

Scholars including members of Opus Dei – the conservative religious order depicted as a murderous, power-hungry sect in the best-selling Dan Brown novel - were participating at the forum on the potential effects of the movie, set for release on May 17-19 around the world.

Brown’s novel, with 46 million copies in print, contends thatJesus married Mary Magdalene and had descendants, and puts the Catholic Church and Opus Dei at the centre of a conspiracy to cover up the alleged secret, Ireland Online reports.

A top official close to Pope Benedict has blasted Dan Brown's best-selling book as full of anti-Christian lies and urged Catholics to boycott the new film that is based on it, according to Reuters.
But Austin Ivereigh, press secretary for the country's top Catholic prelate Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, said the group would propose a different approach in a statement expected shortly.

The signatories include monks, nuns, theologians and members of the Opus Dei group, which is pilloried in the book. Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, is not a signatory.

"We are not calling for boycotts or protests. Our view is that it is up to people to decide if they want to see the film," Ivereigh told Reuters. But he said the film-makers should have made clear the plot is fiction, not fact.

"The danger is that by appearing threatened we give the book and the film the theological credence it doesn't have," Ivereigh said.