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Cardinal: Da Vinci Code chance to spread the good word

The Roman Catholic Church had decided to use the release of The Da Vinci Code to teach Christian faith.

india Updated: May 17, 2006 15:32 IST

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Italy called Monday on the faithful to seize the opportunity provided by the release of the film of

The Da Vinci Code

to teach about Christian history and faith.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, addressing a conference of Italian bishops in the Vatican, did not repeat a call made earlier this month in the bishops' journal for a boycott of the film, based on the multi-million selling book by United States writer Dan Brown.

A number of cardinals at the Vatican have called on people to stay away from the film, which paints an especially unflattering portrait of the Catholic Opus Dei organisation.

According to Ruini, works such as The Da Vinci Code are "above all, a commercial operation, but also constitute a radical and baseless challenge to the very heart" of the Christian faith.

"It is hard to not to have the feeling that their success has a relationship to the feeling of self-hatred, or at least loss of self-love, which invades our civilisation," Ruini said, in a reference to western societies' turning of their backs on their Christian heritage, which Pope Benedict XVI has attacked.

 

 Cardinal Ruini

Ruini said the church should seek to use the occasion of the release of the film to "enlighten consciences" and embark on "a deep work of Christian instruction".

There was a need to "help people to draw a clear distinction between the certain facts of the origin and history of Christianity and works of imagination or falsifications."

The film will be screened Wednesday at the opening of the 59th Cannes film festival. Its central thesis is that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child, whose descendants are living today.

The Roman Catholic Church is accused in the film of trying to suppress the truth, with the help of Opus Dei.